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.

Cape Cod lobster boat

Cape Cod lobster boat

To give you a complete break from all things Christmassy (apart from my special offer, of course), here is a little taste of the New England coastline. This was taken from the cabin of the lobster boat Angela and Mary, looking across the harbour to Provincetown, the little town that sits at the very tip of Cape Cod. It was a perfect autumn day of sparkling sun and deep blue sky and water. There was a fierce wind and rough seas outside the shelter of the harbour, which is why she was docked instead of out hauling traps. 

I am always interested in the places where people work, so exploring the Angela and Mary was a treat.

Best of all was the opportunity to look through a cabin window and see the world from the captain’s point of view. You’ll find the rest 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.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Twenty-nine years of celebrating Thanksgiving in the UK and it is still my favourite holiday. I have even managed to bring my English family and friends round to my way of thinking. So here’s to appreciating our loved ones and whatever it is that we have to be thankful for – there is always something.

For those of you not in the US, eat something nice today with someone you love and you too will have entered into the spirit of the holiday. For my American subscribers, you already know exactly what to do.

Please get in touch if you have an event, a celebration, a portrait or a building project you would like to have photographed.

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.

300 years of history in one blacksmith shop

300 years of history in one blacksmith shop

12.07.2019: I am very sad to report that Ben Autie passed away about six months after this photo was taken. It is too soon to know what will happen to his forge.

23.11.2018: 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.

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.

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