Eye See Trinity

EYE SEE TRINITY

2014-15

Trinity College Bristol is home to 200 staff and students, most of them training for ordination in the Church of England. I spent a year there as part-time artist-in-residence, with a studio on site, and a remit to produce a community photography project, a commission for the chapel and termly seminars/workshops. I found myself rooted almost immediately in a sense of history – my parents had met there in 1977 – and the Jacobean Stoke House unveiled its many former lives in a fascinating series of visual representations, including a Turner watercolour, and a studio photographer’s album from 1930. These form the subject of my Lineament and Album Series, in which the conventions of institutional facade are reconstructed by photography’s trace.

With the community, I instigated a camera club, partly by inviting representatives from various college groups (such as the part-time students and the nursery children), and partly through leaving disposable cameras in central locations for anyone to use. Capturing the idiosyncrasies and banality of college life, the resulting 500 images formed the material from which Kingdom Series emerged: glimpses of New Testament expression of the ‘kingdom of God’ aligned with a corporeal picturing of lecture-room viewpoints, eating together and a child’s perspective. The culmination of the residency was Canopy Compass Rose, a ceiling light-box installation for the refurbished chapel. In its central arrangement and garden location (a one-time orangery), the worship space evokes a vertical orientation towards natural growth and rootedness. My piece draws on other centrally-organised church symbols and traditions, in a photographic image of the skyward view from the nearby dell, a canopy of filtering light and stately woodland.