Saturday, April 05, 2008

All Stains Day

The Glass Is Greener On The Other Side


Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


My earliest memories of the many churches in which I have worshipped around the world are crystal-clear recollections of wall-mounted bronze memorial slabs and beautiful stained-glass windows. So with this week's Photo Hunt theme being "Glass", I scrapped my initial plan of posting a series of photographs shot in the reflection of glass panes.

Instead, this post honours not just the faith that I learnt as a child, but also the ancient art of churches adorned with stained glass windows. I shot this series of photographs at St John's Lutheran Church in Southgate, Melbourne.


These first two shots (above) were taken outside the church and, as the bearded and affable Kevin said in answer to my question, they were not part of the original building. The original church was located near City Road, not far from the present site. But it was demolished in 1989 as Southgate was being developed - and was re-built at the new site, in the shadow of the Victorian Arts Centre.


This shot (above) and all the subsequent photographs were taken in the little chapel beside the main church building and pretty much everything here is from the original building.


This (above) is another view of the same window, to give you an idea of the wide range of colours used in its construction.


This (above) is one of two arched windows from the old church and it now hangs on the east wall of the chapel.


I was so fascinated by the expressions of the disciples that I framed this close-up (above) to give you a better look.


This pastel shot (above) is the lower section of the main stained-glass window. You'll notice (if you haven't done so already) that the dark shapes in the foreground are actually the rounded ends of the pews, which were also part of the original church. I was really lucky with the afternoon light in this shot, because it just seems to caress the dark silhouettes of the hand-carved wood of the pews.


This final shot (above) is an interesting one. I'm not sure which side the original window faced, but in the chapel it now faces south. And as I lined up the frame, I realised I could actually see the hazy outline of an high-rise apartment building in the middle distance. Look carefully and you'll see it too - in the form of a slightly darker shadow on the red section of the glass.

How very intriguing, to think that the view through this beautiful stained-glass window is so dramatically different to what it was all those years ago, when the window was first fitted into place in the original building.

57 comments:

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Beautiful colours in these. What a lovely post.

Katney said...

An excellent impression of some of the merits of glass. I didn't even think of stained glass for the theme, though I certainly have access to a number of good examples of the art. You will have to wait till midnight my time to see what glass item came to my mind, inspired by our recent trip to Seattle.

imac said...

Great david.colours are just beautiful

Andrea said...

Beautiful colors in the stained glass windows. Excellant work of art to design such beauty.

quilly said...

I love stained glass windows -- and history. To have both in one posting is wonderful. I also liked your mention of the changing views from the windows.

The church I worshiped in for years began life as the first building in town. Ninety-eight years later, over-run by high rises and high priced commercial real estate AND inadequate parking, the building sold and the stain glassed windows were carefully crated. The no longer add a touch of God to downtown Las Vegas.

dot said...

These are really beautifully colored. Enjoyed seeing them!

jennifer h said...

These are all interesting and beautiful, but I especially like the close-up of the disciples. The colors and the details are so rich.

And I like the composition of the last photo, with the outline of the building showing through, and your comment about how the view has changed.

And...All Stains Day...genius. This whole post was a glasstronomic delight.

Gawdess said...

I love coloured glass in all shapes and sizes, these are good pictures of it.

CrazyCath said...

Those are wonderful shots. Stained glass fascinates me. The colours are all in the rainbow. The detail of the disciples faces is exquisite and behind them there is detail of the city of Jerusalem - what precision, exactness in depicting a scene.

The colours are just beautiful and the history truly interesting. What gorgeous multi coloured shadows they must cast in those pews.

Interesting your comment "The glass is greener..." There is no green in the glass you have displayed.
Excellent post. Thanks.

Dave Coulter said...

Lovely colors. I believe I like the more contemporary compositions the best. :)

Lana Gramlich said...

Being a collector of colored glass in all of its forms, I love this post. Very beautiful!

CrazyCath said...

I stand corrected - on viewing again I notice the second last shot has indeed got green glass. How did I miss that? lol

Tammy said...

My church was built in 1789 and has the most gorgeous stained glass windows. They always fascinated me as a kid and still do.

Sniz said...

Wow, I love that thought about how different the landscape is from when the window was first set in place. The shadow in the last picture is awesome.

Bubba's Sis said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

Momma said...

Beautiful photos. I love the stained glass of churches. If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., see the National Cathedral. I took my children there for a spring concert a few years ago at which chamber choirs were performing. Between the wonderful music and the absolutely stunning glow of the stained glass windows in the early evening light, I was mesmerized.

Thanks for the close-up of the disciples. Amazing work...Peace - D

Chrisss said...

I love the photo of the apostles. Great Blog.

leslie said...

These are beautiful - I love stained glass windows in churches and cathedrals, but here in western Canada you don't see them much. I was overwhelmed seeing them in England, France, and Italy, though. Stunning, as usual, David. :D

Merisi said...

Beautiful!
I wonder were the craftsmen who created these windows came from, of both the older works and the contemporary ones.

Maggie May said...

I absolutely LOVE these windows, I really do!
England is steeped in beautiful churches & cathedrals with lovely windows, some modern & some traditional.I am always fascinated & can spend ages just looking at them. Very good post.

the mother of this lot said...

That one of the Ascension is beautiful David. One of the best I've seen.

diXymiss said...

Really lovely. I enjoyed the story as much as the images. To think what the view must have been in times gone by...

monaco said...

I love stained glass windows in churches. Unfortunately, some of the newer ones don't use glass anymore but plastic.

Dragonheart & Merlin said...

Lovely photos of the stained glass windows! Beautiful works of art. :) Wonderful choices for this week's Hunt!

Dragonheart and Merlin

Randi said...

Great photos! Beautiful and excellant pieces of art!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That was one beautiful essay on glass, David. But no less is expected of this here blog ;-)

Have a great weekend.

Akelamalu said...

I adore stained glass windows and those shots are just beautiful David.

Dragonstar said...

I love the way glass bends and reflects light, and coloured glass alters the way things look. I particularly like that last shot of yours.

Dragonstar said...

By the way, thanks for directing me to your kite post; as I said below, I missed it somehow.

Hootin' Anni said...

David...your photo hunts never cease to give me enjoyment when I visit! I especially like the arched window. But anything that is made of stained glass is beautiful in no other kind!

My 'glass' is shared, I sure hope you can find time to drop by for a visit if you haven't already.

Happy Saturday to you, and happy hunting!!!

Shrinky said...

Some of these windows are a work of art in their own right, they are mesmorising. Beautiful shots David.

Bengbeng said...

i am impressed by yr photographic skills. i feel a little embarrassed by my amateurish work :)

i beati said...

I could gaze all day at Stained Glass, and flowers, and Nature ... and ..and

Cindy said...

I love stained glass windows and this was a great post.
My glass photos are
Here

Colin Campbell said...

The contrast between the old and the new is very dramatic. I like the new with the harder lines and the sharper colours.

John said...

Great David! Beautiful colors in the stained glass windows.
Enjoyed seeing them. Very well done.

Sarge Charlie said...

some very excellent photos from down under. g'day

Carver said...

Wonderful take on the theme. I love stained glass.

secret agent mama said...

Those are gorgeous!

Rebecca said...

Very pretty! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I also have found memories of the beautiful stained glass windows in my church as I was growing up. We have various kinds of things around the house that cast light into colors and it's very beautiful.

Seamus said...

Such beautiful glass David. I have a particular fondness for stained glass having worked in it for many years. One of the most awesome moments is the first time a piece is lifted for the bench and held to the light; sometimes with some unexpected results! :)

Mima said...

What a great set of shots, the colours in the glass are really beautiful, light is so essential to getting it right, and you have it spot on!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Beautiful images. I do love looking at stain glass windows. The older churches seems to have to better ones.

Crystal xx

Jo Beaufoix said...

Beautiful glass David. I love the stained glass in the old churches around us, but the more modern stuff is gorgeous too.

jmb said...

I love stained glass and I am enjoying all the different ones people have posted this week for the glass theme. No Chartres Cathedral yet. I'm hoping.

-TNChick- said...

Just beautiful and so vibrant! I love the one you shown that is framed!

joan said...

I love stained glass. I especially like the arched one. Such pretty colors in all of them.

the teach said...

David, Thanks for stopping by my books and reading blog! Your stained glass shots are incredible! The colors are so rich and varied! :D

Andrée said...

David, this is a lovely post. That is true stained glass, isn't it? The leaded sections (especially the disciples heads all individual pieces). It probably acts as emphasizing their heads too. Beautiful.

Moosekahl said...

Stain glass fascinates me. I have few regrets in life but I do regret that I never took stain glass as a class at Carroll College in Helena, MT with Father Dan Hillen. He was a truly gifted artist and now is lost to us all forever but his art work still marks the campus throughout.

marcia said...

pretty

Sandi McBride said...

I love all stained glass, but am just not taken with modern stained glass in a church window, tho I couldn't say why. Yes I could, it seems a bit offputting to attend a church with a nuts and bolt theme in the window...lovely photo's though, as usual
Sandi

archiearchive said...

I love stained glass windows. Thank you for sharing these images - or are they images of images - which would make them meta-images - - - Hmmm too much thinking for a Sunday morning :)

Jamie Dawn said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday Roast interview.
I always like reading about how people came into the world of Blogdom.

The stain glass photos are beautiful.
I love taking photos inside ornate churches. I've been in many of them, and the awe of them still inspires me.

Stained Glass said...

Nice photographs. I just loved the vibrant colors. These stained glass windows are very beautiful. Thanks for sharing the photos with us.

ed said...
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