'Hawkhurst Church, Kent', photography by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

'Hawkhurst Church, Kent', photography by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

Benjamin Brecknell Turner
'Hawkhurst Church, Kent'
England
1852-54
Albumen print from paper negative
Museum no. PH.54-1982
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Hawkhurst's 14th century church - with its 15th century tower - is in this image perfectly reflected in the still village pond on a bright winter morning. The bundles of sticks stacked up to the right may be poles used for growing hops, or willow branches that would have been soaked in the pond to soften them for fashioning into fences, baskets or suchlike. Given that the mirrored image is a house of God, the scene can be read as a meditation on the nature of divine truth and its reflection in the physical world. Turner's alternative title for the picture - A Photographic Truth, which he used when it was exhibited at the Royal Society of Arts in 1852 - suggests it can also be understood as a comment on the self reflexive nature and philosophical possibilities of photography