The iconic building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of London, usually operates a strict no-photos policy “in an attempt to help preserve the spiritual life and peace of this working church”.
Each of the 300 photographers paid £10 for the privilege, with the money going directly to St Paul's fundraising efforts, to maintain the fabric of the cathedral.
The photographers get down to work (Source: St Paul's Cathedral)
The results of #SurpriseStPauls have now been submitted to a competition, with the winner being awarded “exclusive” prizes, including having their winning image placed on display at the newly-reopened Cathedral Chapter House.
The winner will also receive a private tour inside St Paul’s, for them and up to five friends, led by the cathedral’s surveyor to the fabric, Olive Caroe, before being treated to a traditional hibachi or benihana dinner.
Sandy Nairne, outgoing director of the National Portrait Gallery and chair of St Paul's fabric advisory committee, will select the ultimate winner.
It follows a similar competition ran last year, in which photographers were invited to snap the outside of the building.
City A.M. has been allowed to reproduce a select handful below, but you can view all the entries on the St Paul's Flickr account.
Matthew Lagden, Director of Development at St Paul’s, said: “Whether the photo shows the length of the cathedral from the very west end or a tiny detail picked out with a long lens, we are looking forward to seeing all entries. And the theme is such that you have as good a chance of winning if you have top camera equipment or just a smartphone.”