Thursday, 6 August 2015

Monk Bar Steps, Heavy Bend and Blend

Monk Bar Steps :- This is the thin doorway and entrance leading to the steep steps that take you up into Monk Bar itself and also provide access to the section of York City's wall between Monk Bar and Botham Bar (it's known as a Bar because it's short for Barbican which is an outer defence of a castle or walled city, especially a double tower above a gate or drawbridge). Out of all the Barbicans (bars) in the City Monk Bar is the largest and most impressive. The gatehouse is a mighty four-story fortress that was built in the early 14th century. Each of its levels / floors were designed so that they could be defended seperately. The structure still has its portcullis intact which was in use right up until 1970 and is the only portcullis that could stuill function in the City! If you look up at the front of the bar you can still see its 'murder-holes' which were openeings in the stone work that allowed boiling water or missiles to be thrown down at attackers. So after I took this shot I walked through that tall, thin door door and made my way up the steep, worn steps and onto the City Walls. As I was walking up I couldn't help but think of all the people that had used them before me throughout the ages. Some of them had probably been wearing chain mail and armed with swords as they's run up them to defend the City. It's very old, very dark and very medieval.

Heavy Bend :- It's been carrying cars, trucks, heavy goods vehicles and busses since the late 70's. I had driven over it many times. But when I am on foot and down below I often find myself looking up at it and wondering just how it holds all that traffic up. It doesn't look that sturdy and certainly (to me) doesn't look all that thick, in fact it looks rediculously thin. Clever engineering. The entry and exit road system was built at the same time as the marina itself so it was constructed sometime between 1971 and 1979. Because the Kemptown end of Brighton is up on the clifftop it was essential that some form of vehicle access was provided to the marina which was (obviously) down below at sea level.

Blend :- The point where sea becomes sky and sky becomes sea. It's as if there's nothing else out there at all. As though we've been lied to and that we are indeed 'it' and we're smack in the middle of a never ending ocean on a very flat earth. One of the biggest lies out there is that the camera never lies. It's telling porkies (''Porkies' = 'Pork Pies' = Lies and is therefore rhyming slang for lies) constantly through the way images are composed and / or cropped. As remote and desolate as this image appears to be I was in fact just a five minute drive from my home in the village of Ovingdean on the south coast of England and the sprawling City of Brighton was just a few miles down the road. But for a minute or two as I stared out towards the blending panorama before me I managed to momentarily fool convince myself that there was nothing else out there with nothing behind me either. I was 'it' and standing on a cosmic sized flat disk.

Photography Copyright © Justin Hill