What happens when Ashcombe Windmill is cyanotype-d?

What happens when Ashcombe Windmill is cyanotype-d?

Welcome to Photo of the Week, here to brighten up your inbox. I hope you are all staying well during these difficult times.My cyanotype journey continues. After landscapesseascapes and portraits, I turned my attention to my love of architecture to see how this could translate into my new medium.

After much experimentation, once again I had some interesting discoveries. Many photos that I thought would work beautifully, just would not cooperate. But then sometimes I would get unexpected results that could turn the original digital photograph into something else entirely.

This is Ashcombe Windmill, perched on the Downs above Lewes. The tonal qualities bestowed on the photograph by the cyanotype and hand-printing processes have dropped it into another time and place.

I began to realise that one of the beauties (and frustrations) of cyanotype is the unexpected. There are so many variables to the process that I can never be fully in control of the end product. Sometimes that end product can feel like a gift.

As I mentioned last week, I am self-publishing a book of my cyanotype Bonfire portraits. It will be available for sale during my Artwave exhibit and also by mail order. More information is available here.

A large selection of this new work will be shown as part of the Lewes District Artwave Festival in a joint exhibit with artist Kelly Hall. You can find us at St Anne’s House, 111 High St, Lewes, BN7 1XY, opposite Shelley’s Hotel. We will be open the first three weekends in September, 11am-5pm. Please do come by and say hello!

You can find a selection of my cyanotypes here and learn how I create them here.

First photos ever taken of the Corn Exchange ceiling

First photos ever taken of the Corn Exchange ceiling

I am so pleased to be able to share this photograph I took of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange in January. This is the apex of the magnificent vaulted roof. At a height of 34 ft (10.3m), this unsupported structure covers a space of 178 by 58 ft (54 by 17.6m), the widest span timber frame in the country. Legend has it that there were delays to the construction of the building 200 years ago because of the difficulty of finding large enough single spans of roof timber.

This ceiling has never been photographed up close because it has remained too difficult to get to – until now. The wooden platform shown here is laid across the top of the scaffolding birdcage that fills the open space of the Corn Exchange, giving access to the timbers for the first time in 200 years. This enables them to be examined and repaired – and photographed. Lucky me, I got to be the one for the job.

Many more of my photographs of the Corn Exchange restoration can be found here. You can read more about the progress of the work on the Brighton Dome website here.

House with a view

House with a view

Exactly two years ago I took my first shots of a disused agricultural building in a spectacular setting on the outskirts of Lewes. The interior of the Grain Store was so full of stuff that I had to wait until my second visit to get some inside photos.

I have been documenting this site ever since, watching the ambitious transformation into a beautiful house that makes the most of its surroundings. I always find it satisfying to complete a job like this, knowing intimately the building’s journey and how these new spaces have evolved.

The most extraordinary thing about this house is that it could not be more immersed in the South Downs. Tucked into a hollow, the windows look straight across to a green sloping hill that leads up to the South Downs Way. Seeing the finished and furnished spaces on my final shoot last week, I wanted to move into it, there and then. Actually, I could stay there if I wanted, as it is available as a holiday let. You can find more photos of this project here, and how to rent it here.

Please get in touch if you have a workplace, an event, a celebration, a portrait or a building project you would like to have photographed.

Perfect light at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange

Perfect light at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange

And it’s back to the beautiful Brighton Dome Corn Exchange for me, where I have been documenting the refurbishment of this historic landmark. I had not been since the summer so it was great to be inside this fascinating building once again. You can find a blog about my photographs on the Brighton Dome website here.

These are the south-facing windows of the Studio Theatre, a small, intimate venue that sits adjacent to the enormous Corn Exchange. When I first started photographing the site, these windows were high up and inaccessible to me and my camera.

A balcony has now been built that wraps around the central space, putting these beautiful circular glass panes right at eye (and lens) level. I am sure I have said it before here, but photography really is all about light and the light was just right for me on this visit. The angle of the sun cast perfect circular shadows through the textured glass onto newly painted window frames. You can find more photographs of the Corn Exchange here.

Please get in touch if you have an event, a celebration or a portrait you would like to have photographed or a building project documented.

Tide waits for no man

Tide waits for no man

I am always pleased to start a new project and this one is particularly exciting. This is Free Wharf in Shoreham harbour, a development of 540 mixed-tenure new homes to be built over the next four years. This will be the most extensive and longest-running project that I have worked on by far. The site is being developed by the Southern Housing Group, established in 1901 and one of the largest housing associations in the south east of England.

Currently one of the main focuses at Free Wharf is to strengthen and replace the sea wall along the entire site. To get a sense of the scale of the task, this photo shows just one portion of the wall, where a crane supports a cage holding one man who must always work around the rise and fall of the tides.

More of my photos of Free Wharf are here, information about the development can be found here and my architectural documentary projects are here.

The underwater room

The underwater room

Building materials can play the strangest visual tricks. This skylight was covered in a blue plastic film that filtered watery light down into the room below. The two light fittings were also wrapped in plastic, somehow making them appear like they were floating up the wall, accentuating the underwater feeling inside the room. I would happily have stayed there soaking up that sense of submersion. Perhaps it relates to all the time I have spent lately in and on the sea.

This watery room is in an old barn that I’ve been photographing for the past couple of years as it becomes luxury holiday accommodation. The Grain Store is nestled right in the midst of the South Downs, surrounded on all sides by soft rolling hills. You can find more photos of this project here.

Please get in touch if you have an event, a celebration or a portrait you would like to have photographed or, of course, a building project documented.

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