Photography at St Paul’s is strictly forbiddden. Not because the fabric of the Cathedral would be harmed in any way, it has survived bombs afterall, but because, unfortunately, people did not respect the privelege and behaved baldy. So, several years ago, the Dean forbade the practise. And that was well-before the hideous invention of the selfie-stick. Can you imagine? But last night, St Paul’s encouraged photographers, of all kinds, to snap away. A ticketed event, open to the public, transformed the Cathedral into the world’s most beautiful still life. And despite the fact that I am not a particularly talented photographer and my camera is just a tiny, red Nikon coolpix, of course I was there! Finally, a chance to take a picture of the Henry Moore from THE angle.
I was a little worried I would be looked at oddly for lack of professional equipment, but as it turned out plenty of people had little cameras like mine. Even more just phones. I had no grand plan. I wandered round. I watched those with tripods and huge lens. I took many nosy peeks into peoples’ viewfinders. Some were trying to catch the perfect long view, but even more were focusing in on details, on the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the pillars. There is simply so much beauty at St. Paul’s it is no wonder that 300 people found 300 different things to capture on film or phone.
The evening, SurpriseStPauls, was not only fun and a fundraiser (St Paul’s receive no government money) but, for the more serious attendees, a competition. Everyone was encouraged to post their photos on the Cathedral’s social media sites. They will be complied on the Cathedral’s Flickr account and the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Naime, will chose the best image, to be displayed in the soon to be re-opened Chapter House. Needless to say, I am not sending my photos. But will treasure them, nonetheless.
And how did I hear about this event? Facebook, of course. St Paul’s is a prolific poster. Of events and funny facts and interesting links between the Cathedral and the world….
I suppose it is time for me to tell you that I love St Paul’s more than any other place in London. I am an official Tour Guide there, on the Tuesday Team. If you ever want a tour, come along (on a Tuesday of course) and ask for the girl with the shoes…
Keep a look out for this event to be run again in the future. And get yourself a ticket, grab that iPhone, and snap away!
Facebook.com/St. Paul’s Cathedral
Check out the competition yourself: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stpaulslondon/sets/72157651166937362/