Seven Sisters summer solstice

Seven Sisters summer solstice

Happy solstice. This is Sussex in summer, a glorious time of year when daylight lasts from 4am to 10pm. The Seven Sisters, the white chalk cliffs that line the coast, turn golden with the setting sun, as here at Birling Gap.

More of my landscape photographs can be found here.

You can find a short film of my Depot photographs on youtube here. It shows a selection of 200 shots covering two years of photographing this former brewery depot as it became a state-of-the-art community cinema.

Martin Freeman visits the Depot

Martin Freeman visits the Depot

Here it is, opening night at the Depot Cinema in Lewes… I have spent two years documenting the journey of this disused brewery depot as it became a state-of-the-art cinema. Starting with an empty shell of remnants of an industrial past and old studio spaces, I photographed its dismantling and building up again into a light-filled, spacious and beautiful building. Five years in the planning, the vision of a community cinema and arts venue has finally come to fruition. If feels like a most generous gift as been bestowed on the people of Lewes, giving them a building and gardens that welcome the public to sit, talk, drink and eat and three cinemas that offer films to entertain, challenge and expand horizons.

As befits a grand opening, we had our brush with celebrity with the arrival of Martin Freeman, world-renown star of the film and tv worlds, along with other stars of the music, film, tv and literature worlds. Martin signed autographs to the waiting crowds (including one boy in a deerstalker hat, a nod to Martin’s role in Sherlock), mingled with guests and then officially opened Screen One with a q & a with Robert Senior, the Depot’s chair of trustees. The warm summer evening, the glamorous guests and the spacious and gracious building put little Lewes on the map for a night.

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.

The green room at the Depot

The green room at the Depot

I have probably said this before here but I do love finding unexpected colours on building sites. Upstairs at the Depot Cinema there is a new row of offices being built. At the moment they are sporting this sea green wall covering. When I arrived they had just been given an application of sealant.

I couldn’t resist capturing both the rich colour and the Jackson Pollock-like drips.

Over the past year and a half I have been documenting the refurbishment of this old brewery depot in the centre of Lewes as it becomes a new community cinema. My client uses the photos to build on the excitement of the local residents and film buffs.

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