Exeter Cathedral on XP2

Ilford XP2 Super

For a few years now I’ve been working on a little project, which is to visit and photograph all of the Church of England Cathedral’s in Britain. This is usually combined with being closer to one on a vacation, rather than driving from one end of the country to the other to visit one! When I started, I chose to standardise on one film – Ilford XP2 Super (Don’t forget the super!). Why?

By nature I tend towards slower, finer grained films, but obviously I was going to need a faster film. I wanted any images to highlight the architecture and light, so I decided on black and white, to remove the distraction of colour. When I started this I hadn’t processed a film at home in ages, although the gear was in the loft somewhere, so I chose XP2. I could get this easily processed and scanned by a lab.

I have a tiny bit of history here…. way back, my first job from school was at a film processing lab called Photomasters – I wrote about it here. At the time, we were on XP1 not 2, and although it is processable in C41 chemistry, there was an actual “proper” process for it, and we had a separate machine and chemistry for it. I believe the last in the country at the time. Not that this had any bearing on my choice particularly. Neither am I patriotic at all, but I also like the idea that a project that is about Britain, should use a film that is made in Britain. So I started with XP2 Super and have continued since!

I have found that it gives better results if exposed at 200asa, rather than it’s box speed of 400asa. There is a technical sheet available from Ilford here.

Exeter Cathedral #1
Exeter Cathedral #2
Exeter Cathedral #3
Exeter Cathedral #4
Exeter Cathedral #5
Exeter Cathedral #6

12 thoughts on “Exeter Cathedral on XP2

  1. Were all shots taken hand held? If so you must be congratulated for both the composition of the shots in their own right and your steadiness of hand.


    1. Hello Ed! Yes they were all hand held, I do own a tripod but very rarely use it! I find a G&T in the afternoon helps with steadiness (and life in general!) 🙂 Best wishes Andy


      1. Hi Andy, Thanks for the reply. The G & T bit made me smile. If churches/cathedrals are a particular interest. I would recommend the book ‘Parish Churches of England, J. Charles Cox & Charles Bradley Ford, Batsford, London, 1935’. The book details what to look for in particular churches, covers all counties and has a few of photos also many drawings. I bought a copy of this more by chance than anything else (Oxfam bookshop, Canterbury) with a view to visiting as many of the buildings as I can, starting with the nearest of course. Needless to say I have yet to start. Real life interferes. The book may be in reprint or perhaps someone offering a copy online. Just thought I would mention it. All the best, Ed.


      2. Hello Ed, Thanks for the tip! I do enjoy churches and especially a Cathedral, hence my little project! I’ll keep an eye out on Ebay for the book, seems right up my street! I’ve got a couple of books that cover my native Dorset, but to have something wider would be good! All best wishes, Andy


      3. Hi Andy, I had a bit of time free so extracted those churches mentioned in Dorset (I have family living in Lytchett Matravers but not been there for many years). I have also appended in shortened form the parts of the building of interest.

        Melbury Bubb (lovely name) – tower over south porch projecting over aisle-less nave.

        Blandford (built 1732) – built after the death of Wren but to his design principles and is similar to Wren’s smaller London churches. ( I have seen photo of this church and it is remarkably similar).

        Puddletown – delightful village church untouched by restorers (in 1935 anyway). Photo in book, interior and exterior, and it looked lovely in 1935.

        Studland – classic English square ended church building.

        Wareham – Many aspects of the Saxon stone church remain.

        Whitechurch Canonicorum – An example of ‘ogival’ building and nice interior but not as well blended as some other churches.

        Hope that this is of interest and should you visit any of them would be pleased to see shots of them on the blog.

        All the best.


      4. Hi Ed, Many, many thanks for that – I know the church in Wareham, it’s most famous for it’s effigy to Lawrence of Arabia, I’ve photographed it before so will look out the negs! Studland I also know, and will do the same – all the others I need to visit with camera. Of course I will publish the results here as I do! Lytchett Matravers is but just a short distance from me, In fact on my drive to work each day I skirt the north edge of the parish! Thanks again for your input – watch this space!!! All best wishes – Andy


      5. Up-Date! Hello, I made a trip to Puddletown Church today and indeed it is a jem! Of course a camera came along for the ride and once I’ve had a developing session will make a post! Thanks again for the info – all best wishes Andy


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