More mythical waves, and not just mine…

Since my last post, I’ve been away on holiday in Dorset for a week and we’re just back from a long weekend in East Sussex to celebrate my husband’s birthday. On both trips, I was with family and unable to do serious photography. In fact I didn’t bother bringing a camera on the second trip. In some ways, that’s nice but it’s a strange thing when you turn your hobby into your job. You’d perhaps imagine that you’d have more time for your hobby as it’s now your work but, in fact, you have less, and those close to you tend to object more when you get the camera out on holiday!

I did have some fun with a camera last week, however. There was a storm at Newhaven and I was, for once, available so I popped down for a couple of hours of being repeatedly smacked in the face with sea spray. It was better than the forecast and I actually stopped making photos after a while and just enjoyed the spectacle. I lack the words to express how important these moments are to me; I was grinning all the way home. I can’t share any of the photographs I made as I prefer a slower work flow so here’s one I made earlier.

Which leads me on to a slightly sticky situation. Since I published my Sirens photographs, a lot of people have taken up photographing the waves at Newhaven and many of them choose to create photographs in my style. Of course, they are perfectly entitled to make photographs there and I teach workshops there so I can hardly object. Things perhaps go a little far when someone starts to name their photos after mythical beings and practically uses my very words when talking about pareidolia and gods in Newhaven’s waves. This happened this week with a picture captured by another photographer that was published in the national newspapers and BBC website. I was inundated with emails, texts and direct messages about it. All rather tedious. Every one of us stands on the shoulders of those who went before us but we should always acknowledge our influences. This is not just a matter of ethics (although that ought to be a concern for photographers, just like everyone else, surely) but it’s also a case of being true to yourself. If you don’t recognise when you are copying someone else’s voice, how will you ever find your own?

Loki – now, that’s a face!

In happier news, on Thursday I drove down to Taylor Jones and Son in Deal to deliver some prints and books. They’ve had an extension since I was there last and I was excited to see. It’s even bigger than I imagined! It truly has become a destination gallery. Richard and Sonia (Taylor-Jones) have worked hard and they deserve their success – it was really good to catch up with them. The prints I delivered included a 1.4m Niobe and she will be on the walls soon. The print is 12/12 so it’s the last chance to see her in exhibition in this country.

Richard Taylor-Jones in the gallery

Wave monsters

newhaven waves 2


This winter, I have managed to make it down to the coast at least once almost every week. We’ve had some big seas and interesting light, but not at the same time. Until this Tuesday, that is…

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Horned monster

High tide and winds whipped up the surf, creating wave monsters backlit by rays bursting through low clouds.

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No hands!

What a thrill! One of the best photoshoots I’ve had for a while.

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White horses

Like most Brits, I am half-obsessed with the sea; if I could only photograph one thing for the rest of my life, it would be the sea.

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I live in a landlocked county but, happily, the coast is an easy day trip away.  Back again next Tuesday!

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For the curious, these images were all taken in Newhaven, East Sussex with a shutter speed of 1/800 to freeze the waves.

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I hope you enjoy meeting my wave creatures.

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“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 



200mm, f4.5, 0.6″

I am currently working on a presentation that I have agreed to give at a group exhibition in Lyme Regis later this month.  The topic is the coast.  I thought I might share ideas here as I go. I have always had an ambivalent relationship with the sea.  I was brought up in a seafaring family and a large chunk of the first eleven years of my life was spent at sea.   Unfortunately, I never got over my chronic sea sickness.  Without wanting to labour the point, this meant that I spent quite a lot of time staring over the side of the boat!  I have found the sea’s motion fascinating ever since (but I still prefer to observe it from the shore).

waves crashing on rocks

200mm, f/16, 1/40

‘Dark-heaving – boundless, endless, and sublime,

The image of eternity.’

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage




We were lucky, during our trip to Western Australia last month, to meet some dolphins.  Australia

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy