I love the seaside – almost regardless of the weather, which has been just as well this summer! There’s something in the air, apart from salt and the smell of seaweed. People seem to change when they are at the seaside; they become more relaxed and develop a sense of play.
I visited several beaches on the South Coast to try and capture that sense of play. It was a tough job visiting beaches on sunny days but I had to take it on. Taking some inspiration from JS Lowry I created images where the people were small and indistinguishable but their sense of involvement with the sea was clear.
Now if I could just sell my prints for the same price as Lowry…
Brooklands Museum has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help towards their aim of re-engineering Brooklands. This involves moving the Bellman Hangar, which is currently located on the Finishing Straight of the Motor Racing Circuit, off of the circuit and reinterpreting it as the aircraft factory.
It was suggested to me by the museum that it would be good to have before and after photographs of the hangar shot in a similar vein to the night shots that formed part of my Spirit Of Brooklands Project and book. Never one to shy away from standing alone in the dark I took up the challenge and here is the final image, with the Finishing Straight in the foreground.
It will be a while before the hangar is moved but when it is I’ll be back, so to speak.
I am delighted to announce that I have managed to produce a book about my Brooklands project. The book is available as a hard back book with a dust cover, and contains all the images from my web site plus some previously unpublished shots, along with details and anecdotes about the project. The book is available from Blurb, the print in demand publisher, and is also available as an ebook. The retail price for the printed book is £59.95 plus shipping, but Blurb are offering various discounts in the run up to Christmas (currently 30%). I have also acquired a limited number of books at a reduced rate (£39.95) and have made them available to order through my web site. Stocks are limited so when they’re gone they’re gone!
I recently went to Horsell Common, where the Martians first landed on Earth according to the H.G. Wells novel The War Of The Worlds, which was quite brilliantly put to music by Jeff Wayne. It was a cold and frosty day, but the light was lovely and I managed to get these shots. Three of them are available as signed limited edition Giclée prints on my Print Sales website.
I had to wait and wait for the light to change – suddenly a beam of light shone out across the common. I had to act fast – the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one he said, But Still They Come….
As you may be aware I moved last year to Chertsey, which has been in the news a lot lately due to the flooding caused by the River Thames. My house is far enough away from the Thames to have escaped the flooding that has caused, although we also have the River Bourne and River Abbey much closer to us that have both flooded too. Again we have so far remained just out of reach. As it is something (I hope) we won’t see again I took the opportunity to create some images. Most of these were taken between the peaks of flooding, but it gives you an idea of what Mother Nature is capable of.
What with moving house (and wondering if the people in that industry really know what they’re doing), organising my first major solo exhibition, and coping with work it’s been a busy time. The exhibition was at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge and was of my night photographs of the Brooklands race track, which was a great place to have it. I received some tremendous feedback including from people who wouldn’t normally visit art galleries.
Some of the prints can be seen again at the Windsor Contemporary Art Fair in the Windsor Race Course Grandstand on November 9th and 10th, so if you’re interested get in touch as I have some 2 for 1 tickets available. It’s usually a very laid back affair with some fabulous art on display.
Also the BBC have featured The Spirit of Brooklands on their website, and not to be outdone, Top Gear have also run a feature. It’s amazing what appearing on the BBC does for hits to your website!
I’ll be posting some new work soon so it will seem like feast or famine when it comes to my blog posts!
I’m very excited to announce that the Spirit of Brooklands project is is being exhibited at Brooklands Museum, officially opening this Saturday (June 15th) to coincide with the biggest event in the museum’s calendar, the annual Double Twelve weekend. There will be a number of the prints on display in the art gallery in the Clubhouse, all of which are for sale with 30% of the takings being donated to the museum.
It’s a great day out, especially if you have kids. They have the first Concorde ever to travel at Mach 2 in the museum and trips aboard can be booked, which is worth doing. They also have the old scale model Concorde that used to sit on the roundabout on the way in to Heathrow Airport, now sitting at the entrance to Brooklands Museum and Mercedes Benz World.
The exhibition runs for 6 weeks, so there’s plenty of time to head down there and check it out!
I heard recently that two of my Spirit of Brooklands images have been shortlisted for the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, which means that they will be exhibited at the National Theatre in London in November, and will appear in the associated book that is published by the organisers.
I entered the inaugural competition in 2007 and this image of Sandbags on Portobello Beach was awarded the Highly Commended category, and appeared in the Sunday Times Magazine article about the competition. I was asked at the time what the sandbags were about and said I had no idea, and that I had just found them lying on the beach. The day after the article appeared in the Sunday Times I got a call from Jephson Robb (http://www.jephsonrobb.com), a Scottish artist who said that the sandbags were part of his art installation for Big Things on the Beach (http://www.bigthingsonthebeach.org.uk), a public art trust in Portobello, Edinburgh. The sandbags were filled by the local people and then three pyramids were built from the filled sandbags.
Unfortunately I never got to see the final installation as it had been taken down by the time I found out about it, but there are plenty of photos on their website.
Near where I live is Brooklands, the worlds first ever purpose built motor racing track, and the scene of the first British Grand Prix. During it’s time many land speed records were broken there, and Brooklands became a major centre for automotive technology and development. Opened in 1907 with the remit to enable cars to drive at speeds of 100 miles per hour and above, one of it’s key features was that the track had to be banked. The total length of the track was 3.25 miles (including the finishing straight), and a significant proportion of the course consisted of concrete banking.
The final race took place in 1939 at the outset of the Second World War, as due to damage caused by bombing and trying to disguise the track from the air during the war, it became too expensive to repair it. Actually one more race did take place in 2009 when James May created a Scalextric track around the original course for his Toy Stories TV programme, and had a race between two teams.
There has been significant redevelopment of the site since the war but a large amount of the banking still remains. The Spirit of Brooklands is a project that I undertook with the help of Brooklands Museum (well worth a visit if you are at all interested in cars, bikes, planes or history), to document the remains of the circuit, and areas where the track has been removed but there has been an acknowledgment of its existence.
In its heyday Brooklands was a buzzing noisy place, with cars rattling over concrete at speeds of up to 143.44 mph (the course record), and as many as 287,000 spectators cheering on the drivers. To contrast with this I chose to shoot the project at night during very still weather conditions to give a peaceful, surreal feel to the images. The project took four years to complete, and I have just added the resulting images to my web site.