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.

2017 harvest at Breaky Bottom

2017 harvest at Breaky Bottom

Several years ago I worked on a project photographing local food producers around the South Downs area. I really enjoyed the subject matter and was pleased to return to it last weekend when I went to Breaky Bottom Winery to help with the final harvest of the season.

You couldn’t find a more idyllic setting for a vineyard, nestled into a small valley (or

‘bottom’) in the middle of the South Downs, just a few miles from Lewes. In contrast to the pastoral rolling hills, and sheep wandering amongst the grape vines, the ancient barn is fitted out with large metal containers. I always love the chance to photograph people working with shiny industrial equipment. This is Peter Hall, the owner, cleaning the inside of the pressing machine before the last grapes of the 2017 harvest are placed inside. More photographs from this shoot can be found here.

Southover Grange is open

Southover Grange is open

The renovation of Southover Grange is complete and awaiting its first event. It looks beautiful and glamorous and I envy the couples who will be using it to celebrate their weddings. I began documenting the restoration of this Tudor manor in the centre of Lewes as the builders were moving in and returned to the site several times over the following 12 months. It is a rambling house with an interesting history and an important role in the fabric of the town. This was the registry office for many years (and is now again) so it was a place of weddings and the recording of births and deaths.

One of the most significant aspects of this project for me was how my photographs triggered memories that people felt compelled to share. I heard from numerous residents about their personal connections to the house, including several whose parents were caretakers and for whom the upstairs flat was home. A couple of registrars also came forward with anecdotes about years of working at the Grange and the countless weddings they performed. I like that a building can hold so many positive associations for a community and that my photographs have the potential to bring them to life. My exhibit of this project is still showing at Pelham House in Lewes until the 23 May. All my Southover Grange photographs can be found here.

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