Seville Cathedral – six images, and a commentary

Travel photography is a genre awash with cliche and selfies. For many of us, the audience is personal – friends, family, people we hope to impress on social media. The ‘language’ of our images is likewise simple and declarative. ‘Here I am, look at me; this is the view from my hostel/hotel/AirBnB; this is what x (a famous landmark/object/scenic viewpoint) looks like; this is what I ate, this is what I did, this is how fab/miserable/wet/sunny the day was, when I visited.’

Then there is the sub-genre of persuasion – the ad-men photographers whose aim is to convince you that destination y is the destination of a lifetime – mysterious, unique, fabled, fantastic – the language of superlatives.

Some travel photography aims a bit higher, offering documentary, social comment, an awareness of history and culture, humour. Even, perhaps, meditation, reflection: what does it mean, to travel to another country, to stand where one has never stood before, where one might never stand again? What about this is strange, what is familiar? What does this say, about time, existence, the spirit of place?

And then there is photography whose genesis might be travel, but whose expression is art, design, interpretation – particular perhaps to one place and one time, but in a sense, universal.

These photographs, of the magnificent Seville Cathedral – itself an embodiment of the overlay and blending of Moorish and Catholic histories and cultures – make no particular  claim to any one of the descriptions I’ve offered. I leave that to your judgement. But I was impressed and moved, not only in the obvious ways. I was moved by the ignorance that today’s Western anti-Islam rhetoric reveals of Islam’s contributions to art, science, architecture, culture; by the brooding morbidity of Spanish Catholicism; by the oppressive magnificence of princes and prelates – the ostentatious taxing of the poor for the glory of god and the privileged.

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