In 1990, Olive Cook gave me a signed and dedicated copy of ‘English Cathedrals‘, which had just been published. In the Foreword she says that the book was needed because relatively few of Edwin’s photographs of cathedrals had ever been published, yet it was a subject to which he was considerably drawn.
In 1965, whilst photographing in Ireland for the book of the same name published in 1966, Edwin Smith visited the formal gardens at Powerscourt in County Wicklow.
One of the photographs he took there has always held a certain fascination for me and a trip to Ireland gave me the opportunity to visit the gardens and see this impressive place myself. Armed with a copy of this published version of his image on my iPad as a guide, I set out to try and photograph the view as it is today.
In the days when I was printing Edwin Smith’s negatives for Olive Cook, his widow, she would sometimes give me copies of his original prints as gifts. This was always a great honour, as she was extremely protective of the work he left behind, particularly any prints he had made himself.
This is one example, which I received sometime in the early 1990’s. Although given to me framed, I never hung it as the makeshift mount was one made for a landscape print and this was portrait format, so it didn’t look right at all. The frame was also old and battered, so recently I took it apart to cut a new mount and re-frame.
Christopher Howse celebrates the nostalgic photographs of Edwin Smith and the glorious, changing landscape that inspired him 50 years ago.
An article in the Daily Telegraph, 2007, by Christopher Howse
“A photographer who conveys the apparent timelessness of England’s landscape, and its vulnerability, is Edwin Smith”.
posted 10th Jan 2013
I learned this week that nearly a year ago Robert Elwall, the photographic historian and photographs curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects, had died.