Portraits from the Seige of Arundel Castle
The imposing form of Arundel Castle is an iconic part of British history. The Castle plays host to a number of historical events in its yearly calendar, but this is undoubtedly the most fun. It’s a chance for a bit of escapism and an opportunity to catch up with old friends from the Wessex Medieval Alliance. Even if you aren’t into history you may well be after attending one of these displays. That’s why I enjoy photographing and writing about what are very important learning opportunities. Our society seems to be preoccupied with vacuous celebrity and increasingly shallow pursuits ….. keeping our heritage alive seems more important than ever.
This is an ‘amalgamation post’. I’ll add photographs from over the years to this article, and will update it over time
Being the UK, we are somewhat at the mercy of the weather. At this time of year it can go either way, I’ve been to the Siege when the weather has been very cold and damp. I’ve also attended in sky high temperatures – something you would hope to avoid if you’re going to be carrying several stone of chain mail and armour, and of course weaponry. To say this is strenuous is putting it mildly and I have to admire the skill and athleticism which goes into it. And not only that, the detail with which the camps and uniforms are recreated is jaw-dropping and many of the re-enactors are expert historians. Another positive of this event is that it is fairly small and intimate – you won’t have to worry about crowds or long queues at the food stand. Your ticket will also grant you entry to the interior of the castle and all of the gardens.
Needless to say pretty much everybody had a camera in their hand. The displays take place at close quarters so you don’t need big or expensive cameras or lenses in order to capture the action. I spent most of the day with an 85 f1.8 attached to one camera, and occasionally a lens with an 80-300 equivalent range mounted to another. I had no special access and was attending like any other member of the public – getting good pictures is easy, just pause for a few seconds and wait for a clear view.
Mix things up. Some of these portraits were entirely candid. Others were managed. It’s really important that you capture your subject’s personality - that doesn’t mean a string of face on pictures smiling for the camera
Lastly, bear in mind that most events have their own dedicated photographers and they are the ones to approach if you’re a participant looking for prints or downloads. It’s poor etiquette to infringe on their territory. I choose to provide my time and overhead to a small number of historic societies but otherwise these images are not available to individuals.
If you’re interested in seeing re-enactment photography from a different era, there’s more here: Sealed Knot Re-Enactment Photography