Dulverton Laundry, Somerset, 1992

Dulverton Laundry, Somerset, 1992

Here is a change of pace for you, after those monumental Brighton buildings. This photograph is from a documentary series shot in Somerset in the early 1990s.

Dulverton Laundry was, at the time, the main employer in a remote town on the edge of Exmoor National Park, and provided the surrounding area with laundry and dry cleaning services.

The laundry was housed in an interesting structure that represented an early example of industrial building, and was originally water-powered by the leat that ran beneath it.

By far the most interesting aspect of my several trips to the laundry were the employees. Alongside an obvious pride in their work, I remember a sense of people having worked together for years, and the banter and camaraderie that this engendered.

The building has been preserved because of its Grade II listing, but the business closed three years ago, with the loss of 22 jobs. The closure of a local business like this hurts the community on so many levels.

Photographs of the laundry can be found here and more photos of other work environments are here.

The ultimate fish story

The ultimate fish story

Many years ago, before I moved to England, I lived in the little costal town of Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. This photograph is from that time and the scene it captures is the stuff of legends.

That is a prized bluefin tuna that had wandered inadvertently into the harbour and was spotted from shore. A little boat was rowed out to it and an epic battle ensued between man (actually two men) and beast that lasted hours. Eventually beast tired before man and it got dragged slowly to shore. You can see here that it is still alive and thrashing crazily.

I wish I could recall how much the tuna sold for. As I remember, it went to buyers in Japan and the amount seemed astronomical at the time. But it was the story of the heroic struggle in the harbour that we all dined out on for weeks – for years even.

You can find more of my photographs of people doing interesting things 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.

Playing in the snow

Playing in the snow

I hope you are all staying well and sane during these difficult times. To lighten the mood, I thought I would share with you a band promo shot from a few years back – well, eight to be exact. This was not how I had expected the shoot with Small Shipwrecks to go, but snow was falling and we couldn’t resist the temptation to be in it.

Outside was just gorgeous, made more special by the fact that it is so rare for us to get snow in Lewes. I am a New England gal and I do miss the cold white winters of my youth. Once we had set up outside, everyone relaxed into the novelty and joy of playing music in falling snow, and I got my shot. You can find more of my portraiture here.

The year of no Bonfire

The year of no Bonfire

The last time there were no Bonfire celebrations in Lewes, it was 1960 and the town had just been severely flooded. It is not surprising that this year the event has been cancelled because of Covid-19. Even so, a week away from the 5th of November, it is hard to imagine there being no riotous, anarchic revelry.

Over the past months I have been working on a collection of Bonfire portraits, laboriously hand-printing them as cyanotypes. When I learned there would be no festivities on the 5th, I set up a pop-up exhibit of the photographs in a lovely old shopfront along the procession route. I thought of it as a tribute to the celebration that couldn’t be celebrated.

I have also published a collection of these portraits as a book. This week’s photo is the last image in the book – the goodbye shot of Smugglers marching down the hill wielding torches and flaming barrels.

An online version of the book can be found here. If you are interested in buying a copy, contact me here.

Please also head over to The Grain Store Blog. I had the pleasure of being interviewed about this project for a lovely blog post written by Katherine Murphy.

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.

Next step: cyanotype portraiture

Next step: cyanotype portraiture

Over my past couple of blog posts I have been telling you about my cyanotype journey during lockdown. After experimenting with photographs of storms, wild seas and dramatic landscapes, I wanted to see how this technique would work for portraiture.

I began hunting through the largest collection of portraits in my archive – my Lewes Bonfire photos. I was interested to see what this process could add to the atmosphere of the photos. Again, it took a lot of trial and error. In order for the technique to work, I discovered the photos needed certain qualities. If the light falling on a face was too flat, the photo would not translate well into cyanotype. The same was the case if there was not enough detail – or there was too much, or if the photo was not sharp enough, or if it was too dark. But for the successful ones, the process added a drama and a mystery that would not have been possible by digital means alone.

I have been so excited by the results of my bonfire cyanotypes that I am self-publishing a book of them. It will be available for sale during my Artwave exhibit and also by mail order. More information is available here, and an online version of the book can be viewed 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 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.

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.

A little lightness and joy

A little lightness and joy

When it feels like the weather can’t get any worse and fields and roads are flooding, I thought we all needed some joy and hope to lift our spirits. I am therefore giving you a photograph of a baby-naming ceremony I photographed in the warmth of a September afternoon – because what could be more joyful and hopeful than that.

Family and close friends gathered around this little baby girl and her parents and welcomed them into their hearts with rituals, songs and laughter. You can see more photographs of this wonderful ceremony here, as well as many other celebrations of all sorts.

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.

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