Photo: Faces carved in stone

Photograph by Jim Richardson

Photo: Photographer Jim Richardson

Photograph courtesy Jim Richardson

Contributing editor Jim Richardson is a photojournalist recognized for his explorations of small-town life. His photos appear frequently in National Geographic magazine.

Nothing like a little domestic bliss during the holiday season. And nothing like having your marital spat set in stone.

I found this couple while high up on the scaffolding on the York Minster in York, England. There, tucked away among the gargoyles and angels they sit, a hundred feet in the air, visible only to the passing tourist who happens to have a spotting scope!

Keeping the stonework fresh on a cathedral as huge as the York Minster is a never-ending process, and the stone workers toil year in and year out, repairing and replacing what has been eroded by the centuries. When they can copy the original carving, they do. When they can't, they have some license to create something new in the spirit of the original. I suspect some stoneworker in York had something he wanted to say to his wife, but just couldn't put it in words. So he put it in stone. Stone that will last centuries.

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