A few years ago just after I moved to Edinburgh I captured some interior shots and panoramic/virtual tour type photos of St Johns Church on the West End of Princes Street. I took around 15 360-degree panoramic photographs but after that job I heard nothing from the church for some time. So with great pleasure I received a call from St Johns asking if I would be interesting in coming along to the church to photograph a few of the different events they host.
Without ever researching what St Johns, or indeed any church does, I had always assumed they hold services and that’s it. In the space of two weeks I photographed two English language classes, a concert, a brass band rehearsal, a lunch for locals and a Sunday morning service. St Johns really are busy.
The main reason St Johns hired me was to photograph these events to show how the space within the church is used and to go into a promotional brochure they will be producing shortly. They also wanted me to capture the ambience within the church, people enjoying themselves and interacting with others. This brochure is to raise awareness of what the church does and thus help to raise funds. St Johns incidentally are in the process of applying for a large grant to build a two-storey glass visitors centre along the side of the church.
I really thoroughly enjoyed photographing these events as it’s something quite new for me but it’s something I would like to do a lot more of. The staff at St Johns were an absolute pleasure to work with and apart from a few people who were a little hostile towards having their photo taken it was a great experience. This is quite a long blog post but below there are sections of photos with information next to them.
St Johns Stills
These are some stills that I captured recently along with some of the 360-degree panoramic photos that I took a few years ago. Now I have much higher resolution camera equipment I may ask if I can go back and retake some of these stills and panoramics.
This was the first event I photographed for St Johns. Crisis Skylight runs English language classes for immigrants coming into the country who have little or no understanding of English. Apart from the two teachers who were fine with me taking their photos, absolutely no one wanted their photo taken at all so I’ve only included just a couple photos here.
Soup and Cheese Lunch
On Wednesday’s St Johns hosts a soup, cheese and bread lunch that people can pop in for. As with most events people are encourage to make a small donation, about £1.50 in this case, but I thought this was a great thing and the few people I spoke to were really nice. Incidentally St Johns also hosts a soup kitchen on Saturdays but I was unable to photograph this due to family commitments.
Edinburgh Brass Band Rehearsal
This is the part of the church which will make way for the next development at St Johns. Edinburgh Brass Band hold regular rehearsals here and while I know very little about brass bands I really enjoyed listening to them. I understood that some of the players play at concert level and they were really very good. They were also really accommodating with the photos and everyone I spoke to was really nice.
Edinburgh Concert Band
Just one night after I photographed Edinburgh Brass Band rehearsing I photographed a concert at St Johns. This was really great as I was able to move all around the church and take both close up and really extreme wide angle shots, all of which work really well.
Sunday Sung Eucharist
The penultimate event I photographed at St Johns was a Sunday morning Sung Eucharist service. I could sense a few people really didn’t want me there taking photos, even though this was agreed with the church management, so apart from one photograph near the front I hung around the back of the church and again took a variety of close up and wide angle shots.
The last thing I photographed at St Johns was something called the Welcoming Group which again is English language and culture classes for foreigners but this was much lighter than the Crisis Skylight. People were friendly and were happy to have their photos taken and it was a complete polar opposite to Crisis Skylight. I really enjoyed photographing this group