It’s a whole new ballgame

It’s a whole new ballgame

Lockdown has been many things for many people. Although obviously a very upsetting time, for me it also proved to be productive and I am excited to share with you what I have been working on. Back in January, my daughter came home from college with some cyanotypes she had made and I was immediately taken with the potential of the technique. Thus began months of experimentation.

Cyanotype is a traditional darkroom method dating back to the 1840s. I use acetate to create a negative from a digital file and use this to make a contact print onto paper that I have painted with cyanotype solution.

It is a deceptively simple process. It is fickle and inconsistent and can drive me crazy, but when it works, it is joyous. There is variation in each print so, unlike a digital photograph, every image is unique. 

Because I was unable to leave the house I had many hours to play with the process, seeing what types of images worked best and how far I could push the technique. I began with photos I took during the winter storms that pounded our coastline, perhaps because I was missing the sea so much during lockdown. 

You can find a selection of my cyanotypes here. This new work will be exhibited in September as part of the Lewes District Artwave Festival. I will have more information on that for you next time. 

Was it a pea souper or the Devil’s soup?

Was it a pea souper or the Devil’s soup?

From blazing sun to rain and wind – we have had it all here in Sussex lately. On a walk to investigate a prehistoric hill fort above Steyning, West Sussex, we were blasted by a ferocious wind, while at the same time, blinded by thick fog – which seemed a strange weather combination to me. Out of the mist a line of trees suddenly rose above the open fields of the Downs, although it was hard to make out exactly what we were looking at because of the thick fog. Beneath the trees there were strange undulating mounds covered in soft grass that formed a huge circular shape, with younger trees filling the centre. As we stepped into this circle, the wind suddenly dropped, and the space felt eery and, if I had let my imagination run wild, maybe a bit haunted.

Chanctonbury Ring has been a sacred place for over 2000 years. Neolithic flint work, Bronze Age pottery and the remains of a Roman temple have been uncovered here and some believe it is a place of mystic druid power. A local myth claims that the Devil built the Ring and if you run around it anti-clockwise seven times, he will appear and give you a bowl of soup in exchange for your soul. It must be a hell of a bowl of soup, but I think I will forgo running around the Ring seven times just in case.

You can see more of my landscape photography 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.

With photography, it’s always about the light

With photography, it’s always about the light

I have been feeling very lucky to live near a beach during our current heatwave. Not surprisingly, the hotter the weather gets, the busier the seaside gets.

A few days ago I set out very early with my camera to both beat the crowds and catch the early morning light. The sunrise is currently just before 5am here, so by the time I got to the beach at 6.15, it had already been daylight for a couple of hours. That was ok, though, because the sun was still low enough in the sky for my needs.

Photography is always, always about light: the quality, amount and size of the light source, the direction of it and its colour. This would have been a completely different sort photograph if I had shot it in bright, harsh midday light. Instead, the soft early morning sun raked across the beach, throwing every stone and water rivulet into relief. It was well worth getting up for. You can see more of my landscape photography 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.

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.

Bluebell time

Bluebell time

Being in lockdown has made me look more closely at the world right on my doorstep, since I can’t go very much farther. I have been using my little macro lens and investigating life up close and personal, which has been an interesting process.

As many of you know, at this time of year in Sussex the woodland is carpeted with wild bluebells. I wanted to send a photograph of this wonderful sight to you all in your lockdowned, socially-distanced homes.

Given my recent macro lens explorations, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could represent the whole by focussing on a detail. Here for you, then, is a single wild bluebell, bathed in evening light, with swathes of its little fellows in the distance.

You can find more of my landscape photographs 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.

Hot cross buns in the time of lockdown

Hot cross buns in the time of lockdown

Having endless and unstructured time during our coronavirus lockdown is a challenge for me. One of the things that helps me get through the day is taking on the demands and rhythms of making sourdough bread. With lots of time, no yeast, and four people to feed, it seemed an obvious step, although success with sourdough had always eluded me in the past. Checking on my rising dough is now what gets me out of bed in the morning, as I tweak and change my methods daily in the quest for the perfect loaf.

With Easter weekend approaching, the obvious next step was to rise to the challenge of sourdough hot cross buns (no pun intended). Patience is needed for this, as the slow proving time means they take about 24 hours to make. But hey, time is the one thing that we currently have in abundance. So here are our hot cross buns, still warm from the oven, in the soft April evening light, accompanied by a jar of forget-me-nots from the garden. Wishing you all a safe and healthy Easter bank holiday weekend. (In case you were wondering, and I know I am probably biased, but they were delicious!)

More of my residential and interiors photos can be found here.

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