Winter Light In Spitalfields
We are back in December again and the inexorable descent into the winter darkness has begun, even if just three weeks from now we shall reach the equinox and days will start to lengthen. At this season, I am more aware of light than at any other – especially when the city languishes under an unremitting blanket of low cloud, filtering the daylight into a grey haze that casts no shadow.
Yet on recent mornings I have woken to sunlight and it lifts my spirits to walk out through the streets under a clear sky. On such days, the low-angled sunshine and its attendant deep shadow conjures an exhilarating drama.
In these particular conditions of light, walking from Brick Lane down Fournier St is like advancing through a cave towards the light, refracting around the vast sombre block of Christ Church that guards the entrance. The street runs from east to west and, as the sun declines, its rays enter through the churchyard gates next to Rectory illuminating the houses opposite and simultaneously passing between the pillars at the front of the church to deliver light at the western end where it meets Commercial St.
For a spell, the shadows of the stone balls upon the pillars at the churchyard gate fall upon the houses on the other side of the street and then the rectangle of light, admitted between the church and the Rectory, narrows from the width of a house to single line before it fades out. At the junction with Commercial St, the low-angled sun directed through the pillars in the portico of Christ Church casts tall parallel bars of light and shade that travel down Fournier St from the Ten Bells as far as number seven, reflecting off the window panes to to create a fleeting pattern like stars within the gloom of the old church wall.
As you can see from these photographs, I captured these transient effects of light with my camera to share with you as a keepsake of winter sunshine, for consolation when those clouds descend again.
The last ray
The shadow of the cornice of Christ Church upon the Rectory
The shadow of the pillars of Christ Church upon Fournier St
Windows in Fournier St reflecting upon the church wall
In Princelet St
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