Henry Mercer’s castle is actually a photographic
I’m not sure why I decided to join photographer John Barclay on a photo tour of Fonthill Castle. Fonthill is the name of a bizarre home built by a wealthy eccentric named Henry Mercer in the early 20th century. Located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, it consists of a strange layout of rooms which are connected by narrow, twisting stairways and hallways. The castle is also loaded with an unusual collection of art, artifacts and antiquities.
To say I was out of my element is an understatement. I’m a landscape photographer, so why was I dragging my camera around this strange castle? After a few deep breaths and a couple of test shots, I realized why the nine other photographers in the group were running around this place. This is not just the former home of an eccentric millionaire, it is a study in composition. Fonthill is like a training ground that helps you learn to organize cluttered subjects into neat compositions. This is done by harnessing the angles and lines from the unusual architectural design of the interior spaces.
Light spilling through the windows is a popular aspect for Fonthill photographers to capture. It adds more opportunity to build angles and lines into a composition.