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..

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Arches, Tracery and Details

❝Architecture on a Saturday?
What is this heresy? 
Photographs are for Fridays!

<evil villain> 
You all thought you'd escaped Photographic Friday's usual bunch of architecture pictures, didn't you? You thought that I'd be content with Raven's lovely pictures of me (lovely because he's a good photographer, not because I'm a lovely model) and that there would be no spires, steeples, turrets, arches, or other architectural photographs of any kind, and that you were safe from my photographic obsession with buildings. 
 </evil villain>

Out in the sunshine with a camera and a corset.
Photograph by Suzy_Bugs

Now, over the last week or so, I have not actually been out to photograph buildings, but spending a lot of time indoors. This is for two practical reasons. The first is that I physically am not up to walking around a lot. Last Thursday (yep, actually last Thursday) it was really rather hot out, and I fainted in the heat, landed awkwardly, bruised my hip, sprained my ankle and bruised my knee badly. Normally I would say this is minor damage and carry on as per usual, but I work on my feet and cannot afford to take days sick. I made the mistake of trying to carry on as per normal, with Roller Derby on Monday night and walking my daily 14 to 15 mile commute on the Tuesday, but by Tuesday evening my ankle was so sore that I was using my cane and not shuffling far from the sofa! As such, I thought it best to avoid too much unnecessary walking, so my photographic activities have been curtailed. The second reason is that I have been focusing my efforts on illustrations for a book. This is paid work, valuable to me, so it must take priority. 

I didn't have to digitally straighten this one!

That said, I did dig out a few pictures from a previous trip. These are all (I think all) of St. Mary's Catholic church on Huntly Street, in Inverness, on the opposite side of the river from the churches I usually photograph. It is an unusual church building, and a very beautiful and ornate one. From the website, I gather it has beautiful stained glass windows, including some wonderful modern pieces commemorating local historical figures and ties with the Polish community in Inverness, but I do not want to be disrespectful by photographing inside the church, especially as I am not Catholic (even if I once was, maybe because I once was.). 

Dramatic skies ahoy!

Trying to get a half decent angle that takes in a large portion of the building was a real challenge - one I think may best be answered from the other side of the river! The picture above is from an angle suggested by Raven, as he was being a very helpful photography coach for me.  The sky was mostly a dull sort of cloudy that day (hence why the direct photograph has such a dull sky above it) but it had a moment of drama, and I took the opportunity. This is my favourite photograph from this little expedition, and in my uneducated opinion, the best. 

Open tracery

The front of the building is designed to maximise grandeur, with the church recessed from street level and connected to the equally ornate ecclesiastical buildings either side with angled walls that create a bit of false perspective and also draw the visitor in towards the church door. It does not appear, in terms of size, to compete with the Protestant churches of various denominations on the opposite side (Free Church, Church of Scotland, etc.)  although I do not know how far back it goes, and it does not posses a tall and imposing steeple. It does, however, manage to cram as much ornament as physically possible into a relatively compact space. It is a Victorian Gothic Revival building in a city full of Victorian Gothic Revival buildings, and I do wonder if the architects involved got a bit competitive. 

Fleur de Lis design. 

Even the floor tiles are fancy! This tile is made with two different clays, rather than being painted, a terracotta red for the design on a creamy-coloured background. Tiles have been produced in this manner and in similar designs for hundreds of years - the Victorians didn't just emulate their Medieval inspiration, the reproduced its craftsmanship. Now, where can I get some of these for my hall-way... 

The cement render behind the gate is in pretty ruin.

I want some of my pictures to have a sense of narrative, a sense that they are part of a story. I like taking pictures that have doorways, paths, arches, passageways - things that give a sense of how the building is something that can be walked through, not just detail on a flat plane, and also I want there to be a bit of mystery. I'd like people to wonder, as I do, what lies behind the gates, around the columns and down the passageways. Whenever I played games like Tomb Raider or Assassin's Creed or Prince of Persia, it was always exploring the nooks, clambering on buildings and generally being curious that intrigued me, more so sometimes than finishing the level! I have this sort of attitude towards real life, except with the limitation that there are places I am not allowed to go and apparently clambering on the buildings is frowned upon (not that this stopped me at boarding school...). 

I have a feeling this is part of another church.

Sometimes it's just the shapes, the patterns, the textures, things less directly 'building' that catch my eye. Hopefully, as my legs (especially that ankle!) recover, I shall be out and about taking more pictures. Maybe there will even be variety as I find something other than buildings and monuments to photograph. Either that or I will eventually produce a comprehensive guide to twiddly buildings in the Highlands. I am hoping to get some castle photos taken; Cawdor Castle, Inverness Castle, Brodie Castle, etc. etc. Lots of castles around here, including the fabulous Eilean Donan Castle (my correspondents will recognise that one from the multitude of postcards I send), so it that sort of project could keep me occupied for a while. 


  1. I love these photos! I find architecture beautiful, but know nothing about it, so I am planning to read up on it when I have some spare time, if I ever have any :P

    1. I don't know half as much as I'd like to, and I swear I've forgotten half of what I did know...

  2. The photo's are fabulous as always and would love to come with you on castle trips especially Cawdor, and I know the grounds of Brodie really well. Had no idea about the floor tiles I had never seen them before. I learn something new everyday even after nearly 20 years in this city

    1. I thought you and Lady Cawdor had fallen out quite severely?

      You WOULD know the grounds of Brodie, considering you pointed out to me which room used to stay in...

      I pay too much attention to the buildings, it's probably a bad sign.


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