Day Eight - Mick Cant

I’ve been taking photographs for more years than I care to remember. I can still remember the excitement of getting my first set of badly exposed enprints back from Bonus Print and trying to figure out why they were badly exposed (I got there eventually).

Early in my photographic journey I realised that monochrome photography was where my heart lay. Someone (I’ve no idea who) once said that colour reveals the beauty of a subject whereas monochrome reveals the soul. I like that.

The path to my preference for monochrome was helped by having access to a darkroom in my local pub. The landlord, who was a keen photographer, set aside a room in the pub for the photographers amongst his regular customers. We shared the costs of paper and chemicals etc. This was the start of my monochrome journey.

That was nearly 40 years ago. These days, like many photographers, I only shoot digital and I print on an inkjet printer. One area of photography that I have developed over the past few years is infrared photography using a camera that has been converted to “see” infrared. This gives photographs an “other world” feel where blue skies are black and foliage is white, often giving a ghostly moonlit appearance.

Over the years I have gradually homed in on the subjects which give me the most pleasure to photograph. Two of those subjects are churches and abandoned places. The photographs that I took of St Mary’s church in Tivetshall St Mary in Norfolk fit that brief perfectly as it’s an abandoned church! Standing in the ruins gives me a sense of the centuries that have passed since it was built and the hundreds of people who have worshipped, married and been buried there. A powerful feeling.

You can find more of Mick's incredible photographs on Instagram @mickcant

St Mary’s church by Mick Cant
St Mary’s church by Mick Cant

The remains of St Mary’s may look as if they have lain in ruin for hundreds of years or more, but it wasn’t actually destroyed until 1947, when the sonic boom of a low flying aircraft caused the tower to collapse into the nave.

The earliest parts of the church date from the 12th century and the tower from the 14th century. By the 19th century, however, the church was beginning to show signs of decay but it took until the 20th century for the failing thatched roof to be replaced. Whilst this kept the church viable for a while, the lack of parishioners and overall care undoubtedly compromised the integrity of the tower.

But it’s not just low flying aircraft that you have to look out for when visiting St Mary’s, as there have been reports of disembodied footsteps and sightings of a ghostly white figure in old fashioned clothes wandering around the church yard. - Louie Young

St Mary’s church by Mick Cant
St Mary’s church by Mick Cant
8th. HS8 5JJ - St Michael @ Eriskay.jpeg

Today's church door... 

SMichael, Eriskay

St Michaels sits upon a hill, overlooking the causeway that joins the small Isle of Eriskay to neighbouring South Uist. It was built in 1899 and replaced a much earlier structure previously erected on the site. It was constructed by the islanders themselves using local stone and timber salvaged from wrecks.