We shot in several locations, including:
Abandoned Stately Home
I love the fallen grandeur of this location, only about five miles from my home, which was once designed to be a symbol of wealth and decadence. The building is a victim of greed, as it fell into the ownership of a group of wealthy businessmen in the 1920s, who chose to expand their wealth by selling off the most valuable assets of the property - including the roof. This led to the downfall of a once spectacular estate, and within a few short years, centuries of grandeur lay in ruins. The structure of this building remains in tact, though it has been stripped of ornamental splendour. It's a superb location to shoot in (though I wish the staircase remained in tact).
Peak District Countryside
(Also the first image at the top of this page)
There's always something evocative about a ruined church, conjuring up images of a forgotten past; centuries of congregations, gathering together to celebrate joyous occasions, and commiserate mournful losses. Hundreds of footsteps that once echoed within hushed and pious stone walls, are now laid to rest beneath weathered headstones, within the walls of the quiet cemetery beyond the crumbling remains of what had been the hub of village activity, now at the mercy of the weather. (Please forgive the soliloquy, although this church does have literary links to both Byron and DH Lawrence, so perhaps it brings out the poet in me).
The most remarkable feature of this decaying church, is that despite being open to the elements from all angles, the main door remains on its hinges, steadfast in spite of years of disuse. The door is set in a stone archway, and though the ornate lead-work that once adorned the door is long gone, the imprints remain, and the structure remains solid and proud.
On arrival, the door was wide open, propped by a chunk of stone that had once formed part of the church walls. It stood open on its hinges, as if welcoming generations of churchgoers who had long since ceased to attend. As I stood against the open door, leaning my back against the warm woodwork as the sun fell on my skin, the aged wood emitted a powerful and evocative smell, which I adore. There are very few scents that I find so pungent and sensual as the aroma of timber. I love the smell of freshly hewn wood; the autumnal waft of wood burning on the breeze; the charcoal tinged smell of burnt ashes; or the texture and scent of ancient, worn wood. This old door has no doubt outlived its creators and lives and breathes to this day, by some miracle free of graffiti and still firm on its hinges, welcoming scarce visitors to what is now an exposed and pitiful church, where it once offered security, shelter and warmth within. The scent of the oak, warmed by the sun, seemed to emit imagined memories, as I enjoyed the smooth texture of the age-old door and the worn iron handle, breathing in a hint of the past.
We closed the door and shot against it from the outside of the church, and I wondered how many times it had been shut in the past, holding true for all those years, and protecting the treasures within. When we left, we propped it open again, leaving it as we found it. I could have revelled in the scent of that door for hours. Though its purpose is now redundant, I hope it remains firm on its hinges for many years to come.
Derelict Farm House
I love the texture of the stark brick wall here, in contrast with the skin tones and the shimmery material of this skirt.
Images by and copyright of Jeremy Howitt.