A thousand-year-old building

A thousand-year-old building

I always get excited about starting a new project, and this one is especially intriguing. I have been asked to photograph a priory in Eastbourne, part of which is over 1000 years old. The Langney Priory is an extraordinary building with a chapel and Great Hall from the 12th century attached to a Georgian house with a 1930s mock-Tudor frontage. One of the original walls was built by Saxons before the Norman conquest. It sits in two overgrown acres with a pond, an orchard and a walled garden, located in the midst of a housing estate in Eastbourne. This is by far the oldest building that I have photographed – by about 500 years.

Although it has always been lived in, the Priory is in a run-down state. The property has just been taken on by a charity called EU Eco Hub who are working with Eastbourne Council to redevelop the building, bringing in young people learning construction and landscaping to undergo the renovations. The plan is to create a teaching hotel for students learning the hospitality trades. The whole enterprise is truly inspiring. You can see more photos of this extraordinary place here.

If you have a building project, workplace or event that you are thinking of photographing, please get in touch.

A magnificent window

Brighton Corn Exchange window

Isn’t this beautiful? It is one of the windows at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange after refurbishment but still awaiting its many of panes of glass (I just counted space for 185 of them). I have repeatedly been drawn to photographing these huge windows while documenting the redevelopment of this beautiful 200-year-old building. They are magnificent in all their guises, even with broken panes and peeling paint, but to finally start to see them renewed is very pleasing indeed.

Cataloguing with my camera the changes that a building like this undergoes during renovation has many satisfying moments. I find a beauty in all stages of the process, the early messy broken phases through to the clean and ordered final stretch. This build still has a long way to go to completion, but it is offering up glimpses of how spectacular the finished product will be. More photographs of the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange can be found here.

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How to pour concrete

How to pour concrete

I am in the saddle again after a needed break over the summer. Two days after I returned from holiday I was back photographing the Arndale Shopping Centre in Eastbourne where I am documenting a large-scale new build project.

I love seeing the process of concrete being poured. It is so satisfying watching skilled workers transform what looks like muck into a perfect finish that dries looking just the same but is as hard as rock. It’s like magic.

You can see all stages of the action here: the concrete mix comes out of the hose and fills the metal grid, directed by the man using the purple strap; the man behind him shifts the main weight of the hose; the other three workers level and smooth the surface to get it to look like the beautiful finish of the top left corner of the photo. They all wear wellies and are usually almost up to their knees in the stuff. You can find more of my working portraits here and my new build projects can be found here.

If you have a workplace, project or event that you are thinking of having documented, please get in touch. I deliver photographs that can make your business shine.

A team effort is required to install windows

A team effort is required to install windows

Another section of my new website is a gallery of working portraits. This week’s photograph shows a group of builders installing plate glass windows onto the exterior of an office block. This is a skilled and complicated manoeuvre taking place high above the ground.

What interests me particularly in photographing workers in any line of business is the fact of documenting and honouring processes that often go unnoticed or become invisible once a project is complete.

Where buildings are concerned, we live, shop, work and relax in them, usually with little thought of the human endeavour responsible for making them possible. I like being able to show glimpses into this world that many people know little about.

More galleries of work environments can be found here, including local food producers and the RNLI on an air-to-sea rescue mission.

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Dappled light of the Stephen Lawrence Trust Centre

Dappled light of the Stephen Lawrence Trust Centre

The construction work at the Stephen Lawrence Trust Centre is complete, so my part in the project is finished and the blossoming of the Centre into a co-working hub for up-and-coming architects has now begun. It has been a joy to photograph this building and to watch it spring to life. I come away feeling grateful that my skills could have a very practical application in helping a charity that I believe in deeply. What more can one ask for.

For my final shoot, I needed a particular light to capture the sense of welcome of the building. When the sun comes into the foyer in the early evening there is a

transformation of the space. The shadows cast by the Chris Ofili window screen onto the white walls are reminiscent of sun filtering through a forest canopy. This dappled light also helps to define the volume of the space, increasing an awareness of the unusual triangular shape and high ceiling of the room. The new orange corridor that welcomes you through to the back of the building is even more vibrant in this light. The combination of great architecture (David Adjaye), great art (Chris Ofili) and great design (Gensler’s interior design team) have coalesced to create magic. You can see more photographs of this project, and how far it has come in the past year, by using this link.

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Colourful progress at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange

Colourful progress at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange

I am currently documenting the 200-year-old Brighton Dome Corn Exchange where a major refurbishment is under way. I make regular visits with my camera, photographing both the building process and the people working there. It is always a pleasure to find interesting colours on site.

In fact, construction areas are often filled with unexpected colour. It made my day to spot this geometric pattern of yellow, pink, red, blue, brown and grey. More photos from this project can be found here.

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