As I began to think about how I would create these seven Tableaux that I was interested in creating, I began to think how I could make my work stand out a little. A conversation with a friend who has a daughter who is six, left me thinking that rather than concentrate on the Seven deadly Sins I could also perhaps counterbalance the exhibition by reproducing the seven virtues.
I quickly decided that I could create a series of Tableaux that would represent both Sin and Virtue. However what I woud then do would be to introduce my friend and her daughter into each Tableaux. The mother being tempted by the Sins or the Virtues. the child would then appear almost to act as the soul of the mother at each point the temptation pulling the child as well, will the child try to pull the mother from danger? Would the child in her innocence be aware?
The Seven Virtues were adopted by the early Christian faith as the antidote to sin. Following them set you on the path tp a place in heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) defines virtue as "a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. Traditionally, the seven Christian virtues are prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and charity. These were adopted by the Church Fathers as the seven virtues. Although it is worth noting that these are virtues taken from different parts of the Roman Catholic Canon. Some are Theological some are Cardinal. It is beyond the remit of this shoot to explore the differences, that is for theologians not photographers.
The actual concept appears to derive from a poem by the Poet Prudentius, it is named Psychomachia, it describes the conflict of vices and virtues as a battle in the style of Virgil's Aeneid. Christian faith is attacked by and defeats pagan idolatry to be cheered by a thousand Christian martyrs. The work was extremely popular, and survives in many medieval manuscripts, many of them illustrated. It may be the subject of wall paintings in the churches at Claverley, Shropshire, and at Pyrford, Surrey, both in England. The word may be used more generally for the common theme of the "battle between good and evil."
Having thought about the idea. I set about sketching and thinking ideas for each scene out. The viewer would be able to walk through a corridoor with the paintings either side, then leaving a final image for a photgraph of the child and the mother looking back. I had a discussion with The Dean of St Asaph Cathedral the Very Reverend Nigel Williams, about whether ity would be possible to hold an exhibition at the end of the course within the Cathedral. He was very supportive of the idea.
The next issue to consider was where to shoot the images, and what resources would I need? I made contact with a photography group in Manchester who use a disused Mansion at times for shoots, but part of it wasn't overly safe to use, especially if there are children in the scenes. I then contacted Woolton Hall on the Wirral. This is another disused Great house.