28-year-old photos come into their own

28-year-old photos come into their own

Photographs that I took almost 30 years ago of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry have been published recently in several articles about the proposed future of this historic site.

A battle has been raging about planning permission for the building that housed this famous foundry from 1738 until 2017. This is Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, around since the 1570s, and has cast some of the most famous bells in the world, including the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and London’s Big Ben. A planning application was approved last month to turn the building into a bell-themed boutique hotel, despite a strong campaign against it.

Yesterday an unexpected temporary intervention came through from the Secretary of State, so there is a chance the building will be saved.

The foundry was an incredible place to photograph. I remember wandering wherever I liked and photographing whatever I liked. No one seemed to mind, or even pay me much attention. The place felt full of history – even the casting methods were ancient and included sand, dung, hair and bone. You can find more of the photos 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.

The littlest bonfire boy

The littlest bonfire boy

Every year I head out to photograph the Lewes Bonfire celebrations, trying to capture a sense of the joy and anarchy of the night. It is one of the most challenging subjects to capture, but also one of the most fun for me.

Because there is no time to practice how I will deal with the extremes of the situation (pitch black to flares of light in split seconds), all I can do is hit the ground running, tweaking my technique as I go along.

This year new equipment made a huge difference to how I approached the evening. A newly acquired very fast lens meant that I could photograph the event without needing a flash. So much of the drama of the evening is the light cast by all those flaming torches, so being able to catch this without the glare of a flash was a game changer.

Now to this little chap. There is something about this photo that I find mesmerising – the flaming torch looking more like a giant matchstick almost too heavy to hold, that little round face in the wooly hat, the fact that he is so much smaller than the circle of people around him but a mini version of them… As I was saying in my blog two weeks ago, Lewes Bonfire night is very much about families celebrating and marching together. You can find many more of my Bonfire photos here.

On a completely different note, I had the good fortune to be mentioned in two blog posts in one day! The first was on the Brighton Dome website about my project documenting the refurbishment of the Corn Exchange. The second was in the newsletter of Simon Scott Landscaping, an excellent local landscaping firm, about a series of portraits I took over the summer, including a photo of one of their partners.

It’s that bonfire time of year again

It’s that bonfire time of year again

It’s that time of year when the streets of Lewes are wild with flaming torches, exploding fireworks and costumed people marching through town.

This year, I wanted to show you another side to the event that many spectators don’t see, because the 5th of November is as much about family and intergenerational communities as it is about the rowdy spectacle.

I particularly like this shot. It was taken at the end of the evening, the flames of the bonfire lighting this pair of father and daughter smugglers. The striped jumpers, bandanas and blackened faces are a throwback to the days when Bonfire Boys and Girls disguised themselves as smugglers to avoid being recognised. Nowadays it is a sign of belonging, because each bonfire society uses a different colour combination for the stripes of their jumpers. You can find more of my photos of celebrations here, and lots of Lewes Bonfire ones here.

Fun in the sun

Fun in the sun

We have just passed the solstice so, as much as I regret to say it, summer is officially over.

As the rains fall, the winds lash and the nights draw in, here is a little treat for you: one last blast of fun in the sun, taken at the Eastbourne Beach Life Festival (yes, it was back in July).

As part of the event, a contingent of vintage VW bus owners congregated along the seafront, basking in the sun and the cuteness of their vehicles, some of them even with matching dogs.

My portraits focus on showing people within the environments that represent them best. They can be found here and my working portraits can be found here.

Painting orchids

Painting orchids

I am guessing you know by now that I am exhibiting a series of portraits as part of the Lewes Artwave Festival. The show will be open for another two weekends. I am showing photographs commissioned by the Lewes District Council highlighting the people who make the area so special. One of these is Kelly Hall, a talented artist and designer who’s artwork celebrates the great Sussex landscape and beyond. I photographed her in the famous McBean’s Nursery near Lewes where they have been growing orchids for the past 140 years.

You can find my show at 2 Fisher Street, Lewes, BN7 2DG. The gallery will be open Saturdays 10-4 and Sundays 10-2 until 1 September. More information about the exhibit can be found on the Artwave website here.

More of my portraits can be found here, and working portraits 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.

Artwave exhibit opening tomorrow!

Artwave exhibit opening tomorrow!

As I mentioned last week, I have an exhibit of portraits opening tomorrow as part of the Lewes Artwave Festival. I will be showing photographs from a project I am working on for the Lewes District Council, highlighting the interesting people who live and work in the area. The gallery address is 2 Fisher Street, Lewes, BN7 2DG. The gallery will be open Saturdays 10-4 and Sundays 10-2, 18 August to 1 September. More information about the show can be found on the Artwave website here.

This portrait of Chloe Edwards is one of the photographs on show in my exhibit. Chloe runs the catering company Seven Sisters Spices and is a familiar sight around Lewes with her beautifully decorated pram filled with homemade spices, dukkahs, pickles and chutneys. You can find her at the Market Tower on Friday mornings and at the Saturday farmer’s market in Lewes precinct. I know from personal experience that her food is delicious and her cooking classes are inspiring. More of my portraits can be found here, and working portraits here.

AWARD-WINNING: I am very pleased to announce that my photograph of the Stephen Lawrence Trust Centre came second place in its category at the Event Photography Awards 2019. You can read more about it here.

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