Stained glass

Photographing stained-glass windows

A stained-glass window is best seen from the inside of a building during the day. It is also a nice-to-have when the photograph reveals something more about the window’s structure and the wall surrounding it. This places great demands on a photographer. More than one photograph usually needs to be shot and the processing must be given careful attention to achieve the desired result. The challenge is even greater when stained-glass windows are no longer in their original location. To photograph vulnerable stained-glass, for instance that has been rescued from a demolished building, a specially-designed construction often has to be built.

Seeing the coloured light pouring through a stained-glass window is an intense experience. Because the dimensions of such a window are often monumental, the viewer cannot help but look up. The scenes depicted in these windows, often saints or mythological figures, certainly contributes to this feeling of being overwhelmed.

Below, in order of appearance: Caritas, a stained-glass window by Alex Asperslagh (1961); two large stained glass windows by Pieter Hofman, Post Traffic in the Middle Ages and Traffic through the Ether (1958), located in the Nuffic Building on Kortenaerkade in The Hague, the former PTT (Netherlands Post Office) headquarters; and some religious scenes from the Cathedral of St. Bavo in Haarlem.