Thursday, 10 July 2014

Desire, Swell and 17 Steps

"Desire" :- I have seen quite a few shots and images of the 'Desire' quote that's in huge chrome letters on a section of Brighton's "Max Miller Walk" which runs between Marine Parade and Madeira Drive on the seafront. Most (if not all) of the images I have seen have been close ups, focusing mainly on the words and letters themselves so I thought I'd do things my way and a little differently and go with a long shot. As luck would have it I found myself down that way (with camera) around 10 am one morning last month adn it was unusually free of people, traffic and parked cars so I grabbed the opportunity then and there. This part of Brighton's seafront was constructed during the late 1890's. I love the different shapes and sizes of the old Victorian arches as the walkway slopes towards the bottom. This was all once under water as the sea went right up to the cliff face (which is still there but simply behind that large wall of concrete). Ingenious Victorian engineering and knowledge of longshore drift helped build the level of the beach up so that the shingle and pebbles (up to 15 ft / 4.57 meters in places) would hold the sea back and change the face of Brighton's frontage.

"Swell" :- Yes, you're right it is a very grainy image. Before anyone points it out and starts to say how they would have done it or how I could have got rid of the grain I'd like to state that this is how I chose to purposely process it. It was a stormy, grey and wet day. The sea was rolling in at a ferocious rate and was venting its anger against the pebbled beach of Brighton. A shiny, happy depiction of the ruined West Pier in rough seas didn't look right...grain was the way to go. As with most images it's all about timing. Being in the right place at the right time probably accounts for 75% of my images. This image is no exception. Black, dark shingle, charcoal grey water, charcoal grey clouds and a silhouetted skeletal iron framework all perfectly set off by the juxtaposition of a large pathc of light illuminating the cloud. I couldn't have planned it better and if I'd tried it most probably wouldn't have happened.

"17 Steps" :- Yes, I counted them and there are 17 visible in the shot. There's actually 20 all in all but three are hidden from the split level nature of the flight. There are a few of these huge concrete steps set into the sea wall and undercliff walk just to the East of Brighton Marina. They have stood the test of time and the wrath of the sea and all the elements that mother nature can throw at them very well. Predominantly1930's built these sea defenses have helped protect the fragile chalk cliffs that run from Brighton all the way out to Saltdean and beyond. It's vital that they are protected too as the main South Coast Road (A259) comes perilously close to the edge of the cliffs in places and is the main route in and out of the city.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill