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On photographing cathedrals and parish churches

The cover of ‘English Cathedrals’.
Olive’s dedication to me on the inside cover.

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.

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Book Review: Evocations of Place

In 1940 the Focal Press published Edwin Smith’s ‘All the Photo Tricks‘; this is doubly curious. It is rather at odds with Smith’s photographic mantra of ‘cooperating with the inevitable’ and a somewhat tricky undertaking when the evidence suggests that, as a conscientious objector, he spent much of the War years playing hide and seek with the authorities. This is just one of the curiosities of Smith’s life.

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Bomarzo and the Sacro Bosco

Earth Goddess, Bomarzo, Italy, 1960-63, by Edwin Smith ©RIBA

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.

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Daily Telegraph: Edwin Smith’s England

The definitive biography of Edwin Smith by Robert Elwall.

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”.

Read the full article here.

Edwin Smith – The Last Exposures

These photographs were on the roll of film that still lay, undeveloped, in Edwin’s Ensign Autorange camera when Olive let me have it in 1993. It had been in the camera since 1971 when Edwin died, unbeknownst to Olive.
I processed the 22 year-old roll with great care and was astonished to find it contained usable images. Continue reading “Edwin Smith – The Last Exposures”