ELAINE BATISTE PHOTOGRAPHY·TUESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2017
I spent Saturday wandering around Bexhill and making some new photo buddies from the Brighton Photography Events group led by Shane Wells. A small group of four, we met at the station and then made our way by train (and then replacement bus) to Bexhill. I had spent my time at the station gazing around aimlessly looking for people I didn’t know – while the sensible people had met, done introductions and sourced provisions in the M&S at the station. So there was breakfast/brunch on the train (thanks for sharing, Shane) and then after a coffee break we ventured out into the bleak mid-winter that was Bexhill in late February. We started with a brief walk along the front and onto the beach. While it wasn’t actually raining it was a cold, dark, wet day and I assume the remnants of Storm Doris were still lingering. However this meant that moody skies and rough sea may offer some interesting scenes.
Working our way along the beach we took a few shots and along the front were amused by a quirkily decorated cottage. There was the usual flotsam and jetsam on the beach and I attempted a few bird in flight shots with the crows and gulls that skulked on the stones. In the distance, a man tended his boat and I tried to take a few shots of him but nothing interesting emerged.
Having wandered onto the beach and playing with my zoom lens for a while I realised I had lost sight of everyone else in the group and so wandered up Sea Road for a nosy. I have to say there wasn’t much that caught my eye and so I headed towards the Pavilion which had been our main goal of the day.
At the De La Warr Pavilion, a 1935 modernist masterpiece on the seafront, we enjoyed the linear exterior, the reflections and the vast white-and-chromeness of it before entering the building. The plan was to visit the exhibition there curated by Elizabeth Price “In a dream, you saw a way to survive and you were full of joy”. It was a variety of pieces of artwork, photographs and film collected to depict various life themes: Sleeping, Working, Mourning and Dancing. Not being totally au fait with installations (is it an installation?) there were bits I got and some I didn’t. The photography was interesting, there was some luscious vintage hand coloured film and other multimedia pieces.
After that, we ventured onto the other floors which held an exhibition of final year architecture students on the top floor and (my favourite) The New Line: Works from the Jobbing Print Collection. I really enjoyed this display of 1930s poster work and artefacts from their production like copy books and pages from the practice books for lettering. It reminded me of work we had seen in Vienna last autumn.
Then I wandered around taking far too many pictures of the magnificent spiral staircase, which while fabulous was IMHO the only really good subject inside the pavilion. The interior apart from the staircase seemed a bit spare for me and I know its modernist and therefore minimalist but I wondered whether there were other features that no longer existed.
We enjoyed a really delicious lunch before venturing back out into the elements for another look at the sea before we headed home.
When doing a recce for the trip I had seen a haberdashery store advertised near the pavilion and we happened upon this on the way back to the station. I persuaded the others to let me inside for a few minutes and had a little rummage (not nearly enough time really) bought some bits and headed for the station. At the station one of our number spotted a fabulously colourful couple and we decided we had to take photos.
Sadly this led to us missing our bus when an impatient driver stopped us getting on board. Hence we had an additional quarter of an hour at Bexhill Station waiting for the next bus. All’s well that ends well however, and I reached home tired, happy and looking forward to the joys of post processing.