It was a banger of a night

It was a banger of a night

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 is on its way

It’s Bonfire time of year again

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.

Idyllic hut in a rural idyll

Idyllic hut in a rural idyll

I’ve been photographing an old grain store on the edge of Lewes as it becomes disabled-access accommodation, located right in the midst of the South Downs National Park. The South Downs Way, the footpath that spans the length of the Park for 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne, runs along the ridge in the background of this photo.

Next to the large agricultural building, a little dwelling has sprung up as well. I have been watching this shepherd’s hut take shape over the months and love the way it sits so prettily in its surroundings. On my most recent visit, the sun was low in the sky as evening approached, casting raking light across the site. This made it challenging to photograph but I was interested in the drama it created.

I had to align myself within the shadow of the hut and peer around it with my camera to catch the workmen. You can find more photographs of this lovely project here.

My talk went well at the Lewes History Group last week. I have another one coming up, this time at the Paddock Arts Studios (Paddock Lane, Lewes, BN7 1TW at 3pm). 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 are nearby on the 10th November, please join us.

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

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 make focaccia

How to make focaccia

After showing you how to pour concrete in my last newsletter, my lessons continue with Genovese focaccia, made the authentic way at Caccia & Tails, our new Italian deli in Lewes. Elisa, the owner, stretched the dough until it was translucent and draping like an opulent piece of fabric. This was a skilled process that I found fascinating to watch. Obviously my single photo cannot teach you the technique needed to try this at home but it may inspire you to ponder the craft of lovingly-made food.

More photographs from this shoot are here. Proof of my fascination with photographing workplaces can be found here. And this is where you can find a gallery of working portraits.

If you have a workplace, project 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.

Subscribe to my blog to receive my photo of the week directly to your inbox.

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