As a travel photographer, one of the things you learn early in your career is to be adaptable and to be prepared for things not to work as you had planned. With travel photography, it’s virtually unavoidable that at some point, the plans you made to photograph a beloved landmark or incredible bit of nature will go awry. You arrive and with no forewarning, find a place closed for repairs or a landscape ravaged by a sudden change in the weather.
In the summer of 2018, I made a trip to the United Kingdom. One of the places I most wanted to see in England was Canterbury Cathedral. A site of great historical and literary significance, the cathedral is also a remarkable and beautiful structure, and I was excited for the opportunity to photograph it. On arriving in Canterbury, I was disappointed to find the beautiful old structure almost completely surrounded by scaffolding for repairs.
I was determined not to leave Canterbury without capturing at least part of the historic city. But I’m not a fan of scaffolding in photographs, so I found a spot near the Westgate Towers where roses lined the walkways. The towers are the oldest surviving medieval gates, a remnant from a distant time when Canterbury was guarded by seven gates. The Westgate is the largest of the seven and was the most important, as it guarded the road between London and Canterbury.
The city no longer needs to be protected by stone walls, but the Westgate Towers remain – a picturesque reminder of England’s history. And for this photographer, they also served as a reminder to be adaptable and to think on my feet.