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Duomo di Milano

Leanne Cole, a wonderful photographer from Australia, is hosting a weekly challenge on her blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY called Monochrome Madness Challenge, where she features some monochrome photos from other photographers.

Be sure to check other amazing photos on her blog. If you want to participate, head over there and read instructions at the bottom of the post. I would like to recommend her blog to any aspiring amateur photographer, you’ll find many helpful posts and tutorials, but above all she is very open and friendly person.

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For this week’s Monochrome Madness Challenge I picked the photo of Milan’s cathedral, Duomo di Milano. This Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete, from groundbreaking in 1386. to its completion in 1965.

It is a truly humble feeling to stand before the fifth largest cathedral in the world. You look up, and up, and up until you feel your neck will snap. And there it is, touching the sky, within your reach and yet so far away.

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I love churches. For me, they represent human triumph in art, architecture, physics, engineering and imagination. It is a constant reminder of people and times long gone, of hardships and perseverance. My love and respect grew even more after I read Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. And although fiction, it made me realize how much effort and years of hard labor was put in all those beautiful buildings. So, my perspective changed considerably, no more do I see just an impossibly tall building, I see thousands of details – exceptional quality of masonry, ingenious engineering of arcs, meticulous care for details.

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As someone who is not a religious person, I often wonder wouldn’t our world be a better place if we put that much effort in building schools, but I can’t deny the importance of sacral architecture – historical, economical, artistic, and sometimes even the political one.

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