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A sea of steps



Frederick H Evans


1853 – 1945

No image
  • Details

    Other Title
    The Sea of Steps, Wells Cathedral England
    Media category
    Materials used
    platinotype photograph
    23.6 x 19.2 cm image/sheet; 44.5 x 34.3 cm board
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of the Sydney Camera Circle 1977
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Frederick H Evans

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Frederick Evans dedicated much of his time as a professional photographer to the documentation of architecture. In this pursuit he advanced the idea of a 'pure' (i.e. not retouched) photography. Adamant that great buildings, in particular cathedrals, could be photographed with a sense of transcendence, Evans spent days noting changes in light and atmosphere. 'A sea of steps' encapsulates many of his aesthetic concerns. The steps softly lit yet clearly articulated, cascade down and across the picture in a visual tension that ultimately leads the eye to the illuminated archway.

    In writing about 'A sea of steps' in 1903 Evans noted:

    The beautiful curve of the steps on the right is for all the world like the surge of a great wave that will presently break and subside into smaller ones like those at the top of the picture. It is one of the most imaginative lines it has been my good fortune to try and depict; this superb mounting of the steps…

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 5 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications

    • Judy Annear, Look, 'The Enigmatic Object - photography and the uncanny', pg.22-23, Heidelberg, Apr 1997, 23 (illus.).

    • Judy Annear, The Enigmatic Object, Sydney, 1997.

    • Jonathan Cooper, Onsight - The Expressive Image, Sydney, 1987, (illus.). cat.no. 8

    • Vigen Galstyan, Look, 'Infinite flatness: exploring the intangible', pg. 28-29, Sydney, Oct 2012, 29 (illus.).

Other works by Frederick H Evans

See all 23 works