Thursday, 14 May 2015

Historic Steps, Pillared Arches and Firewater

Historic Steps :- Many tourists, day trippers and locals pay little attention to this curved flight of steps on Rottingdean seafront on the south coast of England. Children run up and down them whilst those less fit puff their way up and around to the top. Having looked a liitle into the history of the steps it fascinates me that they are the oldest thing in age. Eveything else you see that surrounds them (foreground , background , buildings etc) have been built or rebuilt way after the steps were constructed and that they themselves have hardly changed at all and are still in their original state. They were constructed sometime between the mid to late 1800's. Whenever I find myself walking up or down them I think of the famous visitors and residents of Rottingdean that must have used these very steps. Rudyard Kipling and Sir Edward Burne-Jones lived in the village and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and various other members of the Pre- Raphaelite brotherhood used to visit them. The most captivating image I have seen of these very steps is an old sepia photograph showing them before the undercliff walk, ramp and other buildings were built. But what's really enthralling is that sitting at the bottom right of the image just in front of the steps you can clearly see the unmistakable figures of Rudyard Kipling and his Aunt, Lady Georgiana Burne-Jones.

Pillared Arches :- I was lucky that we were blessed with a gloriously sunny day when I visited Painshill Park (in Cobham, Surrey) a few weeks ago. The harsh sunlight created this wonderful scene as soon as I stepped inside the "Gothic Temple" folly that sits up on a small hill overlooking much of the park itself. When the Honourable Charles Hamilton designed the park in the 1700's he set out to create scenes and vistas that would appear to be like a "living painting". Evrything was well thought out, planned and landscaped so that every viewpoint was well framed. The "Gothic Temple" had long fallen into ruin and disrepair but in 1981 a major restoration commenced on the park and all of its fancies. The "Gothic Temple" is just one of the ten follies situated within the park that have been lovingly returned to their original state for all to enjoy. Painshill Park was awarded the rare Europa Nostra Medal for its restoration and has been granted a Grade I listing.

Firewater :- There are times when you can find yourself getting a bit of a blasé attitude towards photography. You know what you're doing, you know where you're going, you're not quite sure what you're going to be shooting but you're doing it anyway blah blah blah. There are also times when things catch you completely off guard and knock you on your butt. I'm talking about those moments that catch your breath and make you pinch yourself. When the blasé shoots collide with the 'catch your breath' moments it really wakes you up and gets the blood coursing through the veins. This was one of those moments. Dark, moody and slightly surreal clouds were smothering the south coast and taming the usually turbulent English Channel. Not a lot seemed to be happening but then a hole appreared in the clouds out over the horizon and a mass of golden light poured through and lit up a small section of the water's surface. The shot was taken from Brighton beach.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill