Purcell Architects - Liverpool Catholic Cathedral


Client: Purcell Architects

The brief:

Purcell require some photography of the works we are undertaking at the Liverpool Catholic Cathedral. We will be undertaking a rope access survey of the lantern glass over a period of not less than 8 days. We'll require some general stills of the lantern as well as the cathedral generally both internally and externally for use in brochure sheets etc.

Execution and Delivery:

It's not everyday you get to climb to the top of one of Britain's most treasured landmarks. This project although exciting, was going to be particularly challenging - physically and photographically. The life preserving safety harnesses, PPE and fall arrest equipment needed were going to be restrictive both to climb in and shoot in. The necessity to carry a camera bag with various camera lenses was going to make the climb more difficult due to the tight hatches and narrow walk ways we had to navigate.

I wanted to capture the surveying up against the dramatic Liverpool background. Getting good views away from the Cathedral would prove awkward as the angles would be pretty limited to either shooting down or up at the roped survey team. I suggested we work with a UAV pilot (Greg Chivers of Lunar Aerial Imaging) to provide aerial support and to achieve the look that their project really needed. The advantage of having a drone or UAV camera would be immense in this situation, not only for covering the exterior but also for surveying the interior of the lantern.

We planned the shoot using some 1:50 scale maps and set about cordoning off the access to the perimeter of the flying area. Safety of the public was paramount and as the Liverpool Cathedral is a well frequented, it was going to be essential to have the compliance of the Cathedral staff. We had a great weather window to work in and on the day the sky was clear and blue. Perfect.


As you can see the images against the Liverpool background is stunning. Here's a small selection from the final images provided to the client, as well as the final video cut courtesy of Lunar Aerial Imaging.

Behind the scenes

Here's a video from a helmet mounted camera, which shows the climb from the bottom to the top.