A city bursting with colour and pattern

A city bursting with colour and pattern

I was in Lisbon for a few days recently. Every summer of my childhood I spent a month in a small town nearby so I know the area very well, but it had been over 30 years since I had been there. This time I went with my teenage daughter, and together we (re)discovered the joys of this incredible city. Much about it has changed, but so much of it hadn’t as well. I found myself continually accosted by the beauty of this place.

It is a city bursting with patterns and colours. Whole building façades, entire squares even, are covered in the typical tiles called ‘azulejos’. Some streets run straight up and down the steep hills, lined at regular intervals with balconies, windows and doorways. Others slowly wend their way around ancient squares. The famous yellow trams offer a fairground ride of a journey through the vertiginous narrow alleyways of the oldest parts of the city. I can’t believe it took me 30 years to return. I definitely won’t let it be that long next time. More photographs of Lisbon can be found here.

Lost in space

Lost in space

Wishing you all a very happy New Year! A new year and a 200-year-old ceiling at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, the redevelopment I have been documenting over the past 18 months. This monumental, unsupported vaulted roof stretches across a room that is 178 by 58 feet. In other words, it is just enormous.

Over the months I have watched while workers manually stripped the paint off of each strut (there are hundreds), and slowly renewed the wood. Now shiny new bolts are reinforcing this 32ft high expanse. More photos of this fascinating project can be found here

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how we can work together. 

Happy Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice!

I give you a snowy Stonehenge (with a few sheep thrown in) to remind us that we have made it to the turning point when these dark, short days start to lengthen again and head us towards summer. Here in Lewes the sun rose today at 8 am and will set at 15.56. At just shy of 8 hours of daylight, that feels far too short.

On this day of change, I would like to wish you all a solstice full of light, and a peaceful, happy and fulfilling 2019. See you next year.

You can find more of my landscape photos here. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how we can work together.

Edward Hopper country

Edward Hopper country

I am currently in Boston on a pre-Christmas visit to see family and friends. Today was the bright, still New England weather that I love. There’s no snow yet, but it is cold enough for it. The photo is of my mum’s house first thing in the morning, while the sun was low and the sky was a bright blue.

Being back here always gets me thinking about memory and the deeply rooted sense of familiarity I have about this place where I grew up, heightened by the fact that I have lived in another country for half my life.

I don’t specifically mean my childhood home since this is not the house I grew up in. For me it is about many things, such as particular qualities of light, familiar styles of architecture, the road signs and how the streets are laid out, even the types of cakes in the bakery. The list is probably endless.

I don’t think of it as nostalgia, just a warm sense of knowing a place so well that it is a part of me, and an appreciation that I am able to return here to have that feeling. More of my townscape photographs can be found here.

300 years of history in one blacksmith shop

300 years of history in one blacksmith shop

I have been itching to photograph the Lewes Forge for years now, ever since I spotted it tucked away in a hidden corner off one of the most traffic-filled streets in town. By the time I got around to it, Ben Autie, the blacksmith, was ill and unable to work. Two years later and Ben is back and the forge is up and running full time again so I arranged a visit.

It was extraordinary to walk through a quiet courtyard and into a building that has been a blacksmithing site for 300 years. The main room has high ceilings and old whitewashed walls and is filled with equipment. Three huge bellows, now redundant, hang high up above the two forges. A large manual drill dating from the 18th century sits at the back of the room.

Two walls are covered with horseshoes, from when Lewes was a town with a racecourse and horses would line up on the road outside, waiting to be shod. Photographs of the former blacksmiths who worked here line one wall. And many dozens of pliers and hammers of varying shapes and sizes hang in convenient places around the room.

The amazing thing is that, although this space is filled with history, it is a living, working forge. Ben is here five days a week, busy with sculptures, weathervanes, furniture and anything else he is commissioned to make out of iron. It is definitely not a museum, it is just a business with a lot of history. You can see the rest of the photos here. You can find more of my photographs of people at work here.

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.

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