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Sophie Ryder’s sculptures aren’t to everyone’s taste; many finding the human form with an animal head to be unsettling – as I did at first. However, having spent some time with them I’ve changed my view.

Her claim is that a human head makes the piece takes on a specific personality whereas an animal head allows the viewer to see what the work is about, to see beyond the simple portrayal of a person. She’s absolutely right; these dancing hares would look very ‘ordinary’ as dancing ladies but as Hares they are transformed into something magical.

Off camera flash photograph of Sophie Ryder's Dancing Ladies at Salisbury Cathedral

With the growing dark and the warm glow of the Cathedral lights the Ladies’ dance seemed to change from one of simple joy to one of celebration …

… and I felt I should join them as my experiments with off camera flash finally resulted in a photograph I was happy with!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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