Picture this: St Aldhelm’s Chapel, Dorset


St Aldhelm’s chapel stands above the headland of St Aldhelm’s (or St Alban’s) Head on the Dorset coast, near Swanage. The chapel is just visible from the village of Worth Matravers, about 2 miles inland, and is accessed via a rough path from the village.

I am by no means a skilled photographer, but I have always enjoyed photography as a medium for “capturing the moment”, and I particularly like black and white photography by photographers such as Ansel Adams and Don McCullin. The area of Dorset where I live (the Isle of Portland, on the Jurassic Coast, and its surrounds) offers much scope for this kind of landscape photography, and when we are out and about, I always have my phone with me so that I can take photographs. That a device which fits neatly into my pocket can produce such high-quality images, compared to the cumbersome DSLR Nikon camera which I have never properly mastered, continues to amaze me.

I took a series of pictures of St Aldhelm’s Chapel when we first walked to it from Worth Matravers one day in September 2021, when we had that gorgeous Indian Summer of warm sunny days, and that special light of early autumn. I was struck by the isolated location of the building overlooking the sea, the rough textures and weathering of the walls, and its unusual shape (it dates from the 12th century – find out more about the building here). The clouds were also rather striking that day. The black and white filter – nothing special, just an editing tool in the photo app of my iPhone – seems to lend a greater degree of mystery to the image, and highlights the cloud formations.

Frances Wilson

Picture This is a new occasional series on ArtMuseLondon, in which artists and photographers are invited to showcase their own works (a photograph or painting) and to comment on it. We want to hear why you chose it, your inspiration for the piece and your influences. More information about the series here

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