The rood | 31 Days in May #27

So you’re not sure what a rood is? Nor was I until my life took a rather unexpected pictorial twist and dealt me wedding photography as a vocation. Photographing in churches is a levelling experience. I find myself at peace and not necessarily in a spiritual fashion. I turn into, I think, what can only be described as some kind of golfer. There’s a quiet to this experience that is unlike the rest of the day. I know this only because I wear a Fitbit, but my heart rate slows and I can feel an almost meditational calm. It’s as if I’m trying to fashion a path by which my forthcoming shots will work – that’s the golfing analogy. I may kneel to see how a photographic angle could be affected by the shape or position of a pew. I’ll find hiding places from which I may photograph the more solemn moments of a ceremony without attracting observation from clergy or fear of seemingly giving the congregation permission to start photographing too, when actually a minister would much rather they be concentrating on the matter in hand before their eyes. But this observational quest often yields compelling pictures before the service even begins. So back to the rood, or the chancel screen; an ornate partition between the congregation and choir/high alter. Often elegant carvings provide an opportunity to deliver ‘shoot through’ alternatives to simply photographing from 5 foot 10. This is one such example. The groom and his best man wait for the bride, seated, chatting. It’s a moment of quiet and an angle that I would not expect a guest’s camera to have sought or been trained upon.

Colour photograph of groom and best man waiting for the bride in a Berkshire church

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