My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Graveyards, Churches and Dramatic Skies

Firstly a big thank-you to my first 50 followers! I feel honoured that you think my blog is interesting enough to follow. 

Secondly, more photographs from Inverness city. I went back and took more, and this time I will post colour photographs as well as black and white ones. While black and white does suit the greyscale aesthetic of my blog better, some places just look better in colour. I'm still not much of a photographer, but I adore this sort of architecture, and I am trying to improve my photography skills too. 

I have a love of intersecting lines

This is looking up towards the spire of the Free North Church which is by the river on the southern bank of the Ness, in Inverness city. The Church is actually reddish brown and is late Victorian, built in a Gothic Revival style. I have photographed it before, and there are more pictures of it in the previous photographic post.Dr. Alexander Ross and has a capacity of 1800. Dr. Ross was also the architect of Inverness Cathedral, which I have not photographed yet, but which I will do as soon as the renovation works are finished. While the church is very definitely Gothic Revival, there are hints of Neo-Classical architecture, but they form a cohesive whole. There are several beautiful churches along the banks of the Ness, including the Cathedral. At some point I would like to photograph ALL of the churches in the city as they are architecturally beautiful. Inverness also has several architecturally impressive civic buildings and hotels, and private buildings that may have once been civic buildings or hotels. I need to enquire further. 

Egads! I'm using warm tones.
Perhaps I'm turning Steampunk in my old age? 

These are the columns at the front of the Free North Church - I think this church is currently one of my favourite buildings in the city, and is at least probably one of the buildings I have most photographed, even if not all of the photographs make the cut to be posted on my blog. I try to only post my best work to avoid picture spamming too much. It may not be amazing photography (I always feel terribly inferior when I look at my partner's work!) but I am a novice and I do try my best, and also try my best to learn and improve. I feel that I should have taken another step to the left to improve the composition, as the slight gaps between the columns possibly diminish it. To me the interest lies in how the red stone and wooden panels are contrasting textures but harmonising colours. 

Sturdy buttressing by the alleyway - well lit at night.

This is some pretty hefty buttressing!  There is an alleyway that runs between the graveyard for the Old High Church and the Free North Church. You can look upwards to the graveyard from it, as either the path was cut in, or the Old High Church on raised land. I think there are lights set into the alleyway paving (disks in the photo above) that light up the wall, but I've never been there at night to find out. I liked the sense of perspective and how the alleyway seems all crowded by the huge building. It is a very historical part of the city. The cobbles look gorgeous, but they're cobbles, so wear stiletto heels over them at your peril. 

There are lots of beautiful things in Inverness.

I spotted this in the above mentioned alleyway and felt compelled to try and photograph it in a flattering and interesting manner - I don't think I quite achieved that! Oh well, as I take more photographs I shall improve. I love Victorian street furniture, it is often very ornate, beautiful and has a good amount of attention to detail. Remember that Inverness was not a city when the Church was built, nor when this fancy lamp bracket fitted, and it is a small city now, even if it is the capitol of the Highlands, but even still the architecture is first rate and the city full of fabulous things and it is small (ok, this is quite a big and heavy cast iron bracket) details like this that really remind me of how nice things can be, and that beautiful things are not only for big, important cities like Edinburgh, London or Bristol (or Paris or Prague) but for every place. 

I love the texture of the old stone walls.

There's a lovely arch in the wall leading to the path up into the graveyard of the Old High church. I tried to take a photo that avoided including too much random modernity, and had lots of weathered stone texture. One of the benefits of the pebble-dashed wall behind is that in being white it shows off the gate which has pretty wrought iron swirls. 

This is a Goth blog, there had to be a graveyard.

This is an older photograph of the other side of the Old High Church - I took this photograph back in September or October, and it had been raining, so everything glistened and shone. It was late in the day, so everything had long shadows too. It's not an amazing photo from a technical perspective (there are lots of things wrong with it) but I do like the effect. I especially like how the damp edges of the path glistened, and how the marble (?) grave markers caught the light. 
Atmospheric clouds

This is the Old High Church. I took a similar photograph before, which I have posted in my previous post of architectural and monumental photography, and posted to the right of this paragraph for comparative purposes. I think the previous shot was far more atmospheric due to having two sorts of sky - brooding and cloudy above the church, wispy and bright above the trees. The more recent photograph certainly has a more interesting sky, in terms of having varied clouds right across, but I am not sure if this is quite as atmospheric. I also took the second photograph from much closer to the building, and so the perspective is different and the composition is different. I don't think it is a terrible photograph, but I also don't think it is an improvement on the previous version. I was trying to go for something where there was more a quality of the building looming than in the previous photograph, where it was more a contrast between angular architecture and dramatic sky. Either way, if anyone has any constructive criticism, I would gladly hear it! 

Last but not least, a chapel of rest on the far side of the river, part of a funeral home. This was taken the same day as the last batch of photographs from Inverness, but I wasn't sure about including coloured photographs into the post as I thought it might clash with the otherwise grey-scale aesthetic. Anyway, this building is built in a broadly Neo-Classical style, not sure entirely what the school of architecture is called. Compared to the churches in the area, especially the Catholic church on the same bank as this one, this building is a very imposing building. The Gothic churches are large stone-built buildings too, but something about the arches and detail makes them seem more elegant, and the Free North Church is positively airy by comparison. I think it is the severe lines of the chapel of rest. Either way, even were it a church and nothing funereal, it would still seem a cold building by comparison. This is not to say I dislike it, but it is a very different sort of building to the others here. 

I hope this latest collection of architectural photographs are enjoyed. Even if you never come to Inverness and never take photographs of the architecture here, I hope you at least have a look around your own area for buildings that may seem familiar and everyday at first, but on a second look are far more impressive. I walk past these churches whenever I am in the city, and most people go past them without a second glance. I try to take lots of photographs of the buildings and other things in the city both as a way to learn to take better photographs, and as a way to keep my eyes open for beauty around me, and to avoid familiarity dulling my perception of what is around me. 


  1. Since you first posted photos of the Old High Church I have enjoyed seeing that lone tree in the background. The first photo seems a bit different however, as there seem to be more trees in the background as well as a second tower. Is it just me, or were these two pics taken from different angles?

    Nice photos bye the way. Inverness seems a very special place.

    1. Inverness isn't that much fancier than many towns and cities. In the UK I've noticed that anywhere that has a trading history before 1920 will probably have good buildings, if not look for either a) old parish churches from a few hundred years ago or b) Victorian Gothic-Revival churches. Most places have a church at least 100 yrs old. Usually, if there was a settlement there 100 years ago, it came with a fancy church, and the church will remain even if they've knocked down everything else. Also, stick around, I'm going to be elaborating on this post. It will have MORE photographs.

      As to the Old High Church, all I did was cross the road and walk a few yards, but yes, in the more recent one you can see the top of the spire on the Free North Church (they're next to each other, it's basically three churches in a row on one side of the river, and another two on the other, and the cathedral opposite another church further a long. 5 churches at least facing the river!)

  2. <3 great!

    that last pic reminds me of zelda majoras mask XD the clouds on the small preview pic looks a bit like the moon falling down :-D

    1. I have no idea what Zelda Majoras Mask is - is it a computer game?

  3. I Love Inverness, It's so long since I was up there and untill fuel prices come down it will a long time till we can get up again. I'll have to made do with your great pics. I also love True Gothic Revivalists. Have you seen my blog on St Andrew's Church, Blubberhouses called A True Gothic Revivalist, Edward Buckton Lamb. on my site?

    1. I haven't seen your post but I'll go look it up :)

      I like the true Gothic Revival architecture, while I like the hybrid styles that were sort-of-Gothic, my favourites are the ones either borrowing from Perpendicular style with the REALLY BIG WINDOWS (and even the Victorians, with their technology miles ahead of the late Medieval didn't always match the size of the windows) or the ones where you can't quite tell that they're Gothic Revival and not really, really, really old.. I like buildings, like the Free North Church which does have decorative twiddles, but doesn't ignore the structural roots of Gothic shapes - it isn't pointy arches imposed on Palladian type Neo-Classical architecture. Yes, some of the ledges are decidedly Classical on the Free North Church, but the arches and buttresses look decidedly functional rather than just pointy holes cut in the walls and rocks pilled up against them. That said, I own two lovely prints of Batty Langley architectural drawings, which ARE Palladian follies with pointy arches and twiddly bits. I had architectural prints hanging over my bed... I am a geek.

      It's weird to think that once upon a time, Neo-Classical architecture was seen as liberal, and Gothic Revival as rather traditionalist - these days the more severe lines of Neo Classical architecture tend to be seen as being very authoritative, the architecture of people with conservative tastes, and the ornate and elegant Gothic Revival as being a bit of a creative flight of fancy!

      I want to go to Cologne cathedral - they started building that in the 1200s, and still hadn't finished it by the time that new buildings with pointy arches and spires were being seen as a Gothic Revival. I think it was 1880 they finally finished building it. There's some old photos of what might have been an early Wave Gothik Treffen from the early 1990s that has a gaggle of Goths atop this hideous concrete building, with the entire background being Cologne cathedral and it is officially the gothiest background in any photograph ever - especially all stained black.

      While you're still South of the border, visit the church by the bridge in Henley-on-Thames - fully painted Puginesque interior with a HUGE mural done in the Arts & Crafts style - it's that sort of William Morris tapestry look, but a mural of the Adoration of the Lamb. Looks Catholic, is actually High Anglican (which until Vatican 2 was basically just Catholic in English) and is St. Mary's. The pub next to it is called the Angel, as is the pub the other end of the bridge, and I heard there's a rumour involving its foundation and an apparition on the bridge. The church is another one of these buildings that started as a Gothic building but ended up as Gothic Revival building because they kept adding to it over the centuries, and I've been to cathedrals that are smaller. It's deceptively small from the road leading up to the bridge - it's one church long but three churches wide! It has two fonts, and used to house Queen Victoria's piano, quite possibly the one Liszt played when he came to visit.

      Yes, first thing I do when I visit a town is visit and photograph the pretty buildings. I wanted to be an architect but didn't get through A Level maths.

    2. Sorry for taking so long to reply, I had to read your reply a number of times but thank you for such a detailed account. From your blog posts I am sorry to note that you are unemployed at the moment, I truly hope you very soon fine an interesting and fulfilling job. It is a sad fact the there is no rational justice in the relationship between the people who have work and those who deserve it. I can see from your writings that you do deserve it.
      I do not know as much as you about all the different phases of the Gothic Architecture. Only weather or not I like something, but I have a particular fondness for Edward Buckton Lamb as he not only designed St Andrew's Church, Blubberhouses but also Blubberhouses Hall where I work on Thursdays. The first year I was there we (And the builders) had to “save” the hall from starting at the bottom; - Wet Rot, Woodworm, Death watch beetle, and Dry Rot. Added to that the most awkward Planning Officer in the country….. Harrogate (That’s a true fact.) We (My client) had many appeals in court and English Heritage was great.
      I live in Yorkshire, but my 6 month old Grandson is near Reading, (See “The Camp Site at the End of the Universe” Blog of mine) I was down there about 4 weeks ago and could have gone to see that church by the bridge in Henley-on-Thames has you recommended but it is about 227 mile from home.
      In a couple of weeks we will be going to Ripon and I shall take lots of photos of Ripon Cathedral. Which is a mixture of architectural styles from the 7th century though to the 15th. combining rounded Norman with pointed Gothic arches.
      So when I get home I will try and Blog about it.

    3. I ended up with a job at a primary school - it's certainly rewarding!

      Poor building! It sounds like it had everything working against it! I'm glad to hear it was restored in the end.


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