Pete Corson

The stained glass windows of Atlanta

Pete Corson is an Atlanta-based journalist who has shone a light on the stained glass windows in the churches of Atlanta, Georgia.

You can be a lifetime resident of Atlanta and still discover something new and wonderful behind a door you never entered. For many of us, those doors may be at the front of our neighbourhood church, where some of the city’s most breath-taking artwork can be found for free.

In what he describes as occasional photo tours, he first looked at the windows of Druid Hill Presbyterian producing a well-annotated gallery of 49 images HERE.

Today he published the second instalment, looking at the stained glass windows of First Presbyterian Church HERE which do look extraordinary and were designed by Tiffany, D’Ascenzo and Willet.  There is a very thorough and detailed history published by the church itself: The stained glass windows of First Presbyterian Church

It is revitalising to read of another who believes that such works of art should be appreciated by far more people – clearly this problem was not only confined to my mind!  Critical analysis of Corson’s photographic work highlights the development since his first set of images and those in the most recent gallery.  However, all lack clarity and careful composition (image distortion is not uniform, suggesting that the photographer was not perfectly central to the window).  I find it off-putting that some of his recent images are photographed with the background almost completely black whereas others portray very clearly the stone tracery around the glass.  The reason behind this is simple: in metering off the glass, a darker window would result in an image showing more of the background, whereas for a bright window, the glass alone will be recorded.  The intense saturation of the images suggests that these were recorded on a smartphone using HDR.


Pete Corson (2019) Pentecost [Nicola D’Ascenzo, 1939 – First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta]

I commend Corson’s efforts in better publicising these works of art.  But the stained glass windows of First Presbyterian Church (in particular) are exquisite and deserve to be recorded photographically in a manner that does justice to the quality of the artwork… it is these concepts that sits squarely behind my research project.

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