Beautiful rubbish

The builders have been litter-picking at Southover Grange, the Tudor manor in Lewes that I am photographing. But this is rubbish with a difference. This detritus from the past is in fact a cigarette packet-sized window into another era. The workers have collected a very small treasure trove of artefacts from the first decades of the 20th century: a toothpaste carton, a razor blade wrapper, shoe polish, match boxes, cigarette packets of varying designs. Not only are these lovely little objects fascinating as relics of bygone product design, they also start my imagination going. Who was smoking these “wild woodbines” 70 years ago? What were their lives? How did they spend their time?

It is this curiosity that drives my passion for photographing renovations. Old buildings always hold windows into the past – hand chisel marks on stonework revealed beneath ancient lathe and plaster, layers of colour and wallpaper uncovered below peeling paint. By documenting the restoration of buildings, I keep these clues available to us once all has been glossed over and the buildings have begun their next incarnation. All photographs of Southover Grange can be found here.

If you have a workplace, building 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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