Chapel by Night

After a trip back to my alma mater, Trinity College, for reunion weekend (but not my reunion), I’ve had some time to process both my photographs and my feelings from the trip. Standard touchy/feely closure stuff—appreciating my time there, but recognizing that I’m glad I’ve moved on. (If you can call teaching at a different small liberal arts college moving on…) This image of Trinity’s awesome Neo-Gothic chapel is reflective of two things: first, of the imposing nature of the structure, and second, the way in which its white stone can take on many colors depending on the available light. Perhaps that flexibility is an overly-obvious symbol of how feelings for a place can shift with time.

Chapel by Night

Neo-Gothic Projection

Trinity College’s gargantuan Neo-Gothic chapel is never more intimidating than at early dusk in the winter. The pale stone and the snow on the ground exert a pressure in the brain of everyone around them. In capturing an image of the chapel, perhaps I can bottle some of that intensity.

(And I had the opportunity to continue my recent trend of 1:1 aspect ratio photographs, to boot!)

Neo-Gothic Projection

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The Cathedral of Learning, like most Neo-Gothic buildings, is mostly an exercise in symmetry. I’m all the more fascinated, then, by the little nooks and crannies that eschew this symmetry in favor of their own localized logic. This little bench-and-fireplace alcove, with its overlooking balconies and hexagonal lights, sets itself apart. I can’t help but think it’d look drastically more inviting and charming with a couple of big, woode benches pulled up to the fire. Perhaps they were missing because this was June, and nobody needs a fireplace in Pittsburgh in June.

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Slouching in Heaven

Spending an afternoon wandering the labyrinthine corridors of the Cathedral of Learning renders me literally impressed–feeling the weight of knowledge and Neo-Gothic architecture on my mind. The symmetry, detail, and even the height all produce an overwhelming impression. Evidently, the effect was a bit more pronounced in the case of the gentleman at lower left. Is there anything more quintessential of the current age than slouching and checking a cell phone in the presence of such beauty?

Slouching in Heaven

Who Ya Gunna Call?

The Cathedral of learning is just as dramatic on the outside as the inside. The Neo-Gothic lines and the oppressive cloud cover of an oncoming thunderstorm make for a feeling of significant foreboding. I can’t help but imagine that the building was designed for some sinister, supernatural purpose, and that we might need to call in some experts to fix it.

Who Ya Gunna Call?

Under the Learned Arches

The University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning is overwhelming. Huge, Neo-Gothic ceilings, intricate lights, and arrays of tables decorated with busy students. I’m so amazed by this building because it’s not a library; in essence, it’s just an amazing general-use and administration building. Among these hallways are rooms decorated in the historical styles of dozens of world nations. In essence, picking a random room only contributes to the Hogwarts feeling.

Under the Learned Arches