YORK gallery According To McGee is running its inaugural photography exhibition: a duo show by the Hon Nick Howard, of Castle Howard, and York urban contemporary photographer Jim Poyner.

Howard is internationally well regarded for his photographic works, whether landscapes or portraits of artist Grayson Perry and sculptor Antony Gormley,

For the McGee exhibition, his focus is solely on Castle Howard and its surroundings. "As a child, I took some of my first photographs in York’s Museum Gardens, so it’s a real pleasure to have my images on show at According To McGee now," he says.

Harnessing the light was his principal task for the photographs on show in York until March 30. "These were taken on a particular day, an autumn morning I’d been waiting for to capture the perfect shot of the red tree, the Swamp Cypress," says Nick.

"It turns to that delicious red for a few days each year, just at the time mists, frosts, and sunlight combine to make magic out of even the mundane.

York Press:

The Hon Nick Howard, of Castle Howard, standing outside his photographic exhibition at According To McGee, York

"I’d gone out far too early for the tree shot, just to savour those perfect conditions. As soon as I left the house, it became clear that there was a lot more to shoot than just the tree. The light was changing every moment: I’d turn from one shot to take another and when I turned back, everything had altered, again. It became a race. Under conditions like that, it’s impossible to capture everything you see but I managed to take home something of what I’d witnessed."

This came as "something of a relief" to Nick. "I’d had in the back of my mind a challenge, self-imposed but real," he says. "I had to make a set of pictures at Castle Howard which would stand the test of time, which would enter the iconography of an iconographic place. As time has gone by, I feel more and more certain that I achieved that aim on that morning."

Jim Poyner's photographs capture urban graffiti in cities all around the world. "Ever since having my first camera and darkroom aged 12, I've enjoyed exploring off the beaten path, usually at night and recording the traces of other cultures left behind when the sun rises," he says.

"Graffiti tags, stickers, fly posters and fully permitted works of decorative street art all fuel my curiosity about the 'others' that leave them there, and recording them has become easier over the years as cameras get smaller and more inconspicuous."

Prominent among Poyner's images is the graffiti of an Icelandic artwork collective that illustrates folklore and myth on buildings in Reykjavik, photographed by Jim in dark, cold conditions in February a few years ago.

York Press:

Jim Poyner's photograph of Icelandic street art, depicting Heather McLean's graffiti for Urban Nation

The rest of his catalogue comprises photos from the busy streets of Berlin, stickers and posters from Newtown, Sydney, and daubed shutters and doorways in the gay quarter of Madrid. "Rather than graffiti and street art close up that you often see on social media, these photographs were all taken on a pocket Fuji camera and show the work in situ on homes, offices, shops and back streets," says Jim.

"After 30 years of being amazed at how the most brilliant artists strive to hide their work away, perhaps to prolong the time before it’s removed, I'm delighted that According To McGee have asked me to show it to a much wider audience."

Playing host to a photography exhibition at According To McGee is long overdue, acknowledges co-director Greg McGee. "On every level, photography has taken a back seat to contemporary painting for the past 20 years or so...but photography as a skill has been democratised by the accessibility of apps on handheld devices," he says.

"We thought, 'if we're going to dedicate an exhibition to photography, it had better involve practitioners who innovate and strive for excellence. Give painting a run for its money, in other words. As soon as we saw Nick Howard's collection, we knew the planets were lining up."