Hereford Cathedral will be hosting a special photography exhibition this May, featuring four decades of photography from the cathedral’s volunteer photographer Gordon Taylor MBE LRPS.

Whilst working in the 1970s as Head Biomedical Scientist (Laboratory Manager) at the Department of Pathology and Public Health Laboratory in Hereford, Gordon and a colleague set up a new photography facility with a fully-equipped dark room. With this new resource in place, Gordon became known for his photography skills and was often called upon to document special occasions as well as serving the hospital’s medical photographic needs. In the early 1980s, Gordon submitted a photograph of Hereford Cathedral in the snow to the Friends of Hereford Cathedral, who subsequently used the image on their 1983 Christmas card. The card proved so popular that a second print run was required, and it was this that caught the eye of Peter Haynes, then Dean of Hereford.

The image of Hereford Cathedral in the snow that started Gordon's journey at Hereford Cathedral.

In 1984, the Dean approached Gordon to ask for his assistance with creating a photographic record for an upcoming repair project. Whilst juggling his work at the hospital, Gordon used his lunch breaks, Saturdays and lighter evenings to produce over 1000 photographs and transparencies. This was the start of a four-decade long project to create a rich and extensive photographic history of Hereford Cathedral, its worship and its work. Forty years on, Gordon remains an integral part of the community as voluntary photographer, and works with the Library and Archives team, cataloguing the photographic archive.

Over the last forty years Gordon has captured significant events such as royal visits, major county services and large-scale development projects. But he has also spent time photographing the Cathedral gardens as they change through the seasons, laughter and smiles at community get-togethers and every hidden nook and cranny of the building. 

The Very Reverend Sarah Brown, Dean of Hereford, says: “Gordon has been and continues to be one of the constants of the cathedral community. His kindness, commitment to his work and knowledge of the building shine through every photograph as he puts people at ease with his discretion, humour and gentle direction. His work is a gift to the community and to all who are interested in this special place. In this exhibition we invite you to pause and reflect on the last four decades of events, people and memories of Hereford Cathedral which bring us together through times of celebration, sadness and love.”

Gordon Taylor MBE LRPS, says: “It has been a privilege to spend these years documenting so many aspects of Hereford Cathedral and its life and I hope the exhibition will enable visitors to catch a glimpse of my own unique experience.”

Cathedral in Focus: 1984 – 2024 will take place in the North Transept of Hereford Cathedral and will feature a selection of images selected by Gordon. The exhibition will be on display from Saturday 11 – Thursday 30 May during normal cathedral opening hours and is free to visit. 

With thanks to the Friends of Hereford Cathedral for supporting this exhibition.

Banner Image credit: Gordon Taylor © Caroline Potter