A Year with the Gargoyles

First Section
One of the things I love about Gothic architecture is the sheer amount of detail. From the tracery in the windows to the finials that seem to top every point, there’s always something to see. Often, each bit of decorative detail is different from any other piece on the cathedral, like snowflakes.

Having taken last year off from the 365 photo project — the goal to take at least one photo every day — I decided to give it a go again this year. I figured it would encourage me to go for walks on my own and keep looking at the world around me. While out for our New Year’s Day walk, we stopped by the cathedral. I’m as drawn to the whole Domplein as a needle is drawn to north on a compass. While taking in the majestic detail of the apse, I had the idea to incorporate the cathedral into my overall 365 project. My goal this year is to photograph every gargoyle on the cathedral and in the garden next to it. Once that’s done, I’ll probably go back and start photographing various other decorative details until I’ve captured almost every inch of the place!

I could easily spend a whole day there, taking photos of each and every figure, but to keep me going out on a regular basis, I’m only taking photos of one gargoyle a day. I don’t do it every single day; but I’m aiming to go almost daily. I’ll probably do a post at the end of each week, or maybe I’ll just start a separate Tumblr blog for them. We’ll see.

I had to start somewhere, so I chose the section of the cathedral that you see above. It’s in the back of the cathedral on the southern side, near the entrance to the Pandhof. There are three gargoyles that run along the top of this section of the building, on the three bits of buttressing. I started left to right and you can see them in that order in the following pictures. I tried to get them head on and from a side view.

Gargoyle 1

This next one reminds me of a Muppet, like a cross between Fozzy Bear and Sam the Eagle.
Gargoyle 2

Gargoyle 2

Gargoyle 3

Gargoyle 3

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10 thoughts on “A Year with the Gargoyles

    • Thanks! I don’t have a tripod, so some of the high ones like these require a bit of effort to get a shot in focus. At least the ones in the Pandhof are a bit lower so they should be a bit easier.

  1. Great idea! When you’re finished you could make a slideshow showing all of them, accompanied by the song sung by the gargoyles in Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney version) 🙂

  2. I loved this post! I don’t know why I have such an intellectual and emotional interest in gargoyles. It’s more than just the history obsessive in me. They are just such a perfect, symbolic but concrete glimpse into the mindset of medieval Europe. I can’t WAIT to see more photos!!

    • It’s funny how strong a reaction people have to them — or at least people I’m friend with have. I’ve loved the number of friends who have told me how much they love gargoyles and grotesques. It seems that gargoyles are the ultimate binding factor. 🙂

  3. What an interesting photo project. It might just turn out to be great publicity for the church. 🙂
    But I’m worried that by the time you finish photographing the gargoyles, you might be needing a really good neck massage. 😀

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