Photography Trail: Chichester Statues
We are back with another photography blog from Chichester Photos. This week, we'd like to take you for a photography trail visiting/photographing our favourite statues in Chichester. Our journey will start at Litten Gardens, and we will end in front of the Minerva Theatre. To make the trip even more fun, we will also share with you our five favourite tips for photographing statues and similar subjects.
Trail Location: Chichester, West Sussex, England
Distance: 1.74 Km (1.061 Miles)
Length (Walking): 30-60 minutes
Photography Spots: 5
1. Maurice Patten's (Special Soldier) Statue
Location: Litten Gardens, Chichester | 50°50'15.9"N 0°46'16.7"W | Here
The Story: On the centenary commemoration of Priory Park being gifted to the city by the Duke of Richmond as a permanent war memorial, local sculptor Vincent Gray was commissioned to create a sculpture. His choice was an ordinary soldier - Maurice Patten. Lance corporal Maurice left Eartham, family and fiancée Dorothy to join "B Company" 7th Service Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment in 1914. He was killed in January 1916 at the front. "Maurice Patten, immortalised, is a permanent reminder to future generations of 900,000 British and Commonwealth personnel who paid the ultimate price."
Photography Subject: The standing at reverse arms statue is about 1.5 meters tall, and it stands on the top of a pedestal. Arranged around Maurice's feet are some of the personal effects received by his mother following his death. The items including a tobacco pouch, a silver watch and chain and a bible.
How to Shoot: The statue can be captured from multiple different angles and directions. Start by capturing it from the front as the statue and its posture is very symmetrical, and it works well on this kind of composition. After that, move around the statue and make sure to use the height of it to your advantage so you can play around with the backgrounds (trees, grass, street, etc.). As always, don't forget to create a story by capturing wide and tight shots.
Photography Tip #1 - Shallow Depth of Field: The statue's location is in an unfortunate part of the park with a busy background that quickly takes away the attention from the figure. The easiest way to avoid that is to use a shallow depth of field and blur the statue's background. This can be done by setting your f-stop to the smallest number possible and then test and try the result while increasing the f-stop until you get the desired look.
Mobile phone photographers can try their "portrait" camera mode as this often creates a similar effect.
2. John Keats' Statue
Location: East Gate Square, Chichester | 50°50'10.4"N 0°46'25.4"W | Here
The Story: The statue of John Keats, created by sculptor Vincent Gray, sits just yards from where the poet started writing his celebrated work The Eve of St Agnes at the East Gate Square in Chichester. It was unveiled in August 2017 by Chichester-based actress Dame Patricia Routledge.
The famous poet stayed in Chichester only for a brief period, but he started writing the poem here. He referred to various architectural landmark in Chichester, which he is looking towards as he sits on the bench.
Photography Subject: The life-size bronze statue/sculpture sits on the bench, looking towards the city centre following East Street in the heart of Chichester. The statue is located in the north corner of East Gate Square.
How to Shoot: The life-size statue is sitting on the bronze bench makes a fascinating subject. We would recommend trying some classic portrait compositions with plenty of wide and close shots following the subject.
Don't forget to try moving your camera around and make sure to capture few photos while lowering your camera to the eye level of the statue (or even lower) and creating a more natural and powerful composition. Also, the bench is handy for some lovely leading line compositions.
Photography Tip #2 - Black & White Photography: The statue sits on the edge of a bustling street. Try to avoid the attention from the busy background by turning your photos into strong black & white images. This will add additional contrast to the photos and bring attention to the already dark statue. Finally, don't forget to add some extra contrast and a dark vignette to finish the look.
3. Unity Statue
Location: East Street, Chichester | 50°50'11.0"N 0°46'38.8"W | Here
The Story: The Covid pandemic isn't even over, and we already have a brilliant reminder of how much our NHS heroes had to go through during these difficult times. The statue located in the heart of Chichester was made by local artist John Gillespie, a stainless steel fabricator from Singleton, who named the piece 'Unity'.
Photography Subject: The sculpture depicts a nurse sitting on a bench with a two-meter space for social distancing and is made with keys with the job titles of key workers engraved into them. The bench has a special plaque stating: "Come and rest awhile with me, seek your role or be. While we stayed at home, when we felt scared, you risked your lives for us; you cared. A superhero you may not be, but that's what we, the nation, see".
How to Shoot: When it comes to composition, we recommend you walk around the statue, sitting on its bench, and snap a few photos from each position. You will find out that you can use the bench texture for a lovely leading line or the west's setting sun as a warm glowing background. Your kit for this photoshoot will only require a simple camera setup with a standard lens. If you wish, you can also pack a wide lens to create additional compositions.
Photography Tip #3 - Leading Line Composition: The statue sits on a bench created by long metal tubes. This creates a lovely composition opportunity with the use of leading lines. Sit on the bench and position your camera following the tubes pointing towards the statue. The key of this technique is to draw the viewer’s eye in a specific direction or towards a designated portion of the photograph (the statue in our case).
Learn more about this photo spot here.
4. Statue of Saint Richard
Location: Chichester Cathedral, Chichester | 50°50'11.6"N 0°46'53.5"W | Here
The Story: Saint Richard's statue was made in 2000 by Philip Jackson, a leading figurative sculptor responsible for many public sculptures in the UK. He is known for his ability to convey the human condition through skilful use of body language.
In this imposing bronze sculpture, Jackson uses meticulous posturing to create a powerful sense of drama. The statue has been made one and a half times life-size, making the Saint "larger than life".
Photography Subject: The one and a half time life-size statue is standing near the entrance of the Chichester Cathedral on the top of a massive pedestal. It stands on the top of short steps with a beautiful cathedral background.
How to Shoot: This magnificent statue is the most significant photography subject on our list. The size of the statue makes it easy to place it as a foreground for more complex compositions. There are several engravings on the path in front of the statue, and this can also be used as foreground when photographing the statue. If visiting after rain, you can use the potholes to create beautiful captures with the reflection of the statue.
Photography Tip #4 - Background Story: The statue itself isn't as well known as the cathedral behind. While building composition and creating a powerful story, it's wise to include some more known subjects in the photo (example above). This will create a more complex composition and help the viewer with easy recognition of the scene.
In our example above, we used the Chichester Spire and the Bell Tower to give our viewer a hint of where we are.
5. Murray and Nelson Statue
Location: North Street, Chichester | 50°50'15.5"N 0°46'43.3"W | Here
The Story: Murray and Nelson's statue is the newest statue on our list as it stands on North Street only since 3rd April 2021. The life-size sculpture by local artist Vincent Gray celebrates the close friendship between Admiral Lord Nelson and Sir George Murray, born in Chichester. Admiral Sir George Murray, who was mayor of the city in 1815, was Nelson's captain of the fleet and only missed the Battle of Trafalgar by chance.
Photography Subject: The life-size sculpture stands on the top of a pedestal with a sign stating: "Murray or None". Admiral Sir George Murray was a close friend and confidant of Admiral Nelson and the man about whom Nelson famously said he wanted "Murray or none." The statue sits outside the Council House, home to the city council in North Street.
How to Shoot: The statue showcases two figures with Admiral Murray pointing towards the city's west. This can be used for a lovely composition and additional sense of direction and movement. Try to walk around the statue and alternate between wide and close shots to get the best out of this location. Also, make sure to use the statue's height to your advantage while moving the camera up and down, creating exciting viewpoints.
Photography Tip #5 - Glow Contrast: Creating contrast with an additional glow is another clever technique convenient for cityscape situations. It can be used in addition to the shallow depth of field or black & white technique. The key is to add glow to the photo's background while increasing the details (texture) on the main subject. The glow effect can be created in most recent photo editing applications (Lightroom, Photoshop, Luminar) and some mobile apps (Snapseed, Lightroom Mobile).
6. Minerva Statue
Location: Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester | 50°50'34.1"N 0°46'39.6"W | Here
The Story: This statue was commissioned from Philip Jackson in 1997 by the Chichester Festival Theatre Society to commemorate the life and work of the Theatre’s founder, Leslie Evershed-Martin. Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of the arts, music and poetry, and warfare.
Photography Subject: We will finish our photography trail with the bronze statue of Minerva seated on a bench with her helmet next to her. It sits outside the entrance to the Minerva Theatre and next to the Chichester Festival Theatre.
How to Shoot: Similarly to our previous statues, walk around the statue and look for an ideal composition. The statue is sitting on a bench that can be used for a lovely composition with leading lines towards the statue. Another lovely composition can be created by placing the statue in front of the entrance of the Minerva theatre with the "Minerva" sign behind (see below).
Photography Tip #6 - Get Close: The art of capturing subjects with close shots can help in many difficult situations. It works very well for avoiding boring or busy backgrounds. It can also help to create an impact on the viewer by making your subject clear and direct. The best option is to capture a mix of wide and close shots to improve the storytelling of your photos.
And that's the end of our blog post this week. Thank you very much for joining us, and don't forget to let us know photography spots you would like us to cover in the comments or on our email: email@example.com