You may remember that the Lewes Pilot Gig Club featured in my photo of the week a couple of months ago. At the time, the club was using a rented boat while saving money to buy their own. Enough money finally accrued and the boat was duly delivered to a group of very happy rowers. A ceremony was organised to bless the new vessel on the auspicious day of Good Friday, Moon Beltane and the full moon. Priestess Melissa Corkhill performed the ceremony with specially collected water that each club member used to anoint the gig while casting their wishes for the future of it and the club.
The event began with the Skull Drummery Bonfire drummers, followed by the blowing of a conch shell and finished up with the rousing singing of sea shanties. As one of the club members (who doesn’t live in Lewes) said to me, you just can’t get more Lewes than that. More photos of the boat naming ceremony and other celebrations can be found here. More photos of gig rowing can be found here.
Please get in touch if you have an event, a celebration – or even a boat blessing – that you would like to have photographed.
So, the Lewes Bonfire celebrations have come and gone for another year. It was a warm, dry night and the town was buzzing with spectators lining the High Street, lots of fire everywhere and costumed, torch-bearing people marching through the centre. As a photographer, it is a rewarding, but very challenging, subject matter, what with the extremes of light and dark, the continuous movement of the procession and the jostle of the crowds. Then there are the bangers. They are loud, they are very bright, and they hurt if they hit you. (I admit to being a bit scared of them).
Which leads me to my photo of the week of a string of Chinese firecrackers being let off. I am pleased and just a little surprised by it. First of all, the change in light is obviously very sudden when something is exploding, making it difficult to meter for, but also I know I was probably hiding behind other bystanders when I took it. In addition, I am amazed that my camera was able to record something so extreme. What I like most about it, though, is that it captures a moment in time that the eyes cannot see in real life, which is one of the joys of photography. You can find more of my Lewes Bonfire photographs here.
Lewes Bonfire celebrations are just around the corner. The largest Guy Fawkes event in the country is an extremely loud, colourful and slightly anarchic spectacle that takes over the town for one night a year. As a photographer, I find it hard to resist the pull and the challenge of trying to capture the drama with my camera.
I am particularly fond of this shot from last year. I like the sense of intimacy of it. We share the experience of the smuggler who holds up a bandana in protection against the all-pervading smoke, silhouetted by the flare of the exploding bangers. The flames in the barrel are echoed by the burning torches being carried into the distance.
The term smuggler refers to the people who wear the stripy jumpers. Sussex has 28 bonfire societies, seven of them in Lewes, and each one has its own colour combination. You can find more of my Lewes Bonfire photographs here.
If you are in Lewes on Saturday the 10th November, please join me at the Paddock Arts Studios (3 pm at Paddock Lane, BN7 1TW). I will be speaking about my project documenting the transition of the old industrial Harvey’s Depot into a state-of-the-art cinema.
If you have a building project, workplace or event that you are thinking of photographing, please get in touch. I deliver photographs that delve deeper than showing just the surface of things.
It is a fair guess to say that many of you will know the England football team beat Colombia on Tuesday to secure a place in the next stage of the World Cup. Those of you who don’t live in England will probably not know that chants of “it’s coming home…” can be heard all around me (it being the cup, home being back in England for the first time since 1966). Since this is the state of my adopted country, I couldn’t resist sending you a football photo.
It’s not the World Cup, but I like the drama of this shot. You know that the poor goalie can do nothing to stop what happens next. I shoot all sorts of private events for clients and this was definitely one of the most fun for me to photograph. It was a five-a-side
football tournament organised by BW Workplace Experts to raise money for the music therapy organisation Nordoff Robbins. Eighteen teams participated in three hours of matches, all in the name of charity and good competitive fun.
If you have an event you need photographed, don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how I can help you out.
In other news, I will have two photographs on display at the Artists United exhibit at Fitzroy House, High Street, Lewes. There is always an interesting collection of art at this is annual event that raises money for our local, community-owned football club (more football connections…), so make sure to catch it if you can. The exhibit is up from Thursday to Saturday, 12-14 July.
I love the work I do. Then there are days when I really love the work I do because it exposes me to new experiences that I would never have had otherwise. On Easter Monday I went to photograph a race track in the middle of the countryside for my monthly feature in our local Viva Lewes magazine. The races on show were both contact and non-contact classes and included historic stock cars, Rookie Rods and the Bangers world qualifiers.
The day was as wet and miserable as early April can be, but the weather did nothing to dampen the spectators’ and participants’ enthusiasm. This spectacular crash happened during the second Bangers race. The driver had to escape through the gap where the windscreen would have been (none of the cars have glass windscreens) because his door was rammed by another car. More event photography can be found here.
After three years as an official photographer for one of Lewes’s Bonfire societies, this year I had intended to experience the celebrations as a spectator. At the last minute I grabbed my camera bag. I couldn’t stop myself. It is hard to resist photographing the extraordinary spectacle of Lewes Bonfire, though the lighting conditions are extreme, to say the least, as is the challenge of dodging exploding bangers. The one disappointment is that a still image can never capture
the overwhelming smells and sounds of the experience. For the full impact you need to be standing in the crush of Lewes High Street as hundreds of wildly, crazily-dressed people stream by holding flaming torches and setting explosives alight. For those of you who have never been here on the 5th of November, I offer this photograph as a mere hint of the full-body experience of the night itself. More photographs of Lewes Bonfire can be found here.