Shortlisted for Rubery Book Award 2021: Nonfiction. Several images from the book and series were shortlisted for International Photo Awards 2020 in two categories: Architecture Historic and Architecture Buildings. Also shortlisted for Historic Photographer of the Year in 2018 and 2019.
The photobook Focused is a collection of aesthetic musings presented as a photographic and poetic stroll through King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. Opening with a contextual and historic introduction by The Reverend Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean of King’s Chapel, the book has a sense of mindful meandering throughout the interior of the Chapel. Photobook published by Sara Rawlinson Photographic Publishing, it is presented here in book format, and also as a virtual exhibition.
Minimalist in its presentation, each chapter starts with a poem by the artist, designed to further enhance the viewer experience of the photographer’s eye. Divided into four Parts, the book follows
- I: Focus – an overview of the wholistic process
- II: Elements – the elemental and artistic deconstruction of the King’s Chapel (what our eyes see)
- III: Changes of State – that occurs after some time has been spent within King’s Chapel (what our mind sees)
- IV: Formed – our mind’s eye that has been reformed (by this new lens)
“When I first walked into King’s Chapel, I was overwhelmed by the space and its vastness – a common reaction for many who gaze up at the world’s largest fan vaulted ceiling. When my visits increased in number, the vastness kept me speechless: I often was so enveloped in one aspect that would I stumble en route to the next. For hours upon hours, I photographed and I waited – for the sun to shine – for corners to darken – for candles to light – for fog to move. And the series grew… This series contemplates the balance of serenity – between the expansive architecture and its details – between my former career in science and new career in art – between formalism and the sublime – between visual art and poetry – between abstract ambiguity and transparency. These photographs and words together are an attempt to encompass this balancing act. At the most fundamental level, I simply seek to illuminate the unique and remarkable qualities that enable the chapel at King’s College to become King’s Chapel.”
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“Wonderful! This deft and delicate photo-poem offers an encounter with the Chapel through its elements—not dissected, but refracted. The soaring verticals pulse with light. No less astonishing: the temporal magic of the worn threshold stones, embedded but shifting in a dance of human presence. Sara’s is a passionate vision of a sacred space seen anew.”
– Dr Sarah Kennedy, English, Downing College, Cambridge
“These are vibrant new photographs, not just of the extraordinary space of the Chapel, but also of its often hidden detail – they make you want to touch the building’s substances, textures and colours.”
– Nicolette Zeeman, Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English, King’s College, Cambridge
“These splendid, detailed and often unexpected photographs reflect a personal and sensitive approach to the Chapel. They are published here as a poetic musing on forms and their materiality within a wider spiritual experience.”
– Jean Michel Massing, Professor of History of Art, King’s College, Cambridge
“The images here capture the reality of a place of transcendent beauty and where real things happen. It’s the Chapel I know and love, and I know it better and love it more for having shared Sara’s musings.”
– The Revd Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean of King’s Chapel
“I love this. The light is superb, an active agent in its own right, especially the dapples and speckles. Not just an adjunct of form… [This] must be the most handsome tribute ever paid to a single building. With its blend of words and diverse visual voices it is an Alleluia Chorus.” ”
– Martin Kemp, Professor of History of Art, Trinity College, Oxford
Introduction, Artist’s Statement, 94 full colour images, 12 poems, 128 pages, 24 x 23 cm, hardcover with gold foil and spot UV, printed in the UK. ISBN: 978-1-9161697-3-9. Published by Sara Rawlinson Photographic Publishing, 2020.