How To Photograph An Angel

A beautiful example of street art, this female angel in suburban Melbourne.

Angels are wondrous beings that have long appeared in myth and legend. They appear in the holy teachings of numerous religions including the following:

  • Christianity
  • Judism
  • Islam
  • Buddhism
  • Zorastrianism
  • Sikhism  

In the western art tradition angels often appear as enlightened beings bearing messages from heaven. They’re sometimes represented as intermediaries between heaven and earth. They may be depicted as guardian angels or, in the Zoroastrian religion, as patron angels, protecting and helping to guide us along a righteous path.

Photography Brings Things Into Being

Are angels purely fictions? I know not, but the photographic process allows me to bring to life images such as those depicted in this post. I believe photography is an act of creation.

I photographed the above image of an angel on the side of a wall at the Brunswick Street Oval, the former home of the now defunct Fitzroy Football Club from the days of the former Victorian Football League (VFL).

Angels likely trumpeting resurrection, or the day of judgement, in a niche in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Bruges in Belgium.

Since my childhood years I’ve been drawn to angels and have photographed their representations in stain glass windows and statues, particularly in cemeteries, around the world. This photo of a niche in the lovely city of Bruges in Belgium caught my attention. The statues were so well preserved and the scene is so full of information. I loved the way the scene was depicted, much like a stage play, framed within the boundaries of the niche. The scene is very much like a photograph as it displays a moment in time.

Photographs Depict and Explore

I knew at the time I exposed the image that a black and white print would result. I've worked hard to expand the subtle tonal variations within the image and also to enhance its sense of luminosity. It's a photo of a group of statues that are depicting an event in Christian mythology. But it's also a study, a homage, into the art of the fine print traditional in photography.

Light beautifully illuminates this statue of an angel holding an hour glass at La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Likewise this statue of the angel holding an hourglass at La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina drew my attention. It was a compelling sight, framed by the columns surrounding it and illuminated by the light striking it. The hourglass is symbolic of time passing death and father time.

Angels are great fun to photograph, in all their earthly manifestations. Well, you know what I mean. I love photographing statues and stained glass windows depicting angels and often look for those opportunities when I'm traveling the world.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru