On Monday after helping out at Elda Abramson’s exhibition on Sunday in Eastbourne David and I drove down the coast via Bexhill with the aim of visiting the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. Storm Imogen was blowing strong so we were accompanied by crashing waves all the way.
We got to Hastings only to discover that the Jerwood is closed on Monday. Sensible people would have checked. But all was not lost as this part of Hastings with it tall black wooden net sheds is a fascinating area and with the waves crashing across the car park and wind blowing us off our feet it felt like a bit of an adventure.
This turned into a morning of outdoor photography as the the light was beautiful, making the sea like a great churning silvery cauldron. I aspire to paint waves one of these days (Maggi Hambling style!) so I snapped away with the camera.
The net sheds are where fisherman store and repair their ropes and nets. They are built tall because beach space here is limited and they were allocated only very small plots. The sheds are important because nets and ropes are essential tools for the fishermen and expensive to replace if they rot because they have been left lying in damp piles.
Black and white photographic portraits of the fisherfolk have been attached to the sheds. I can’t find anything about the project or who the photographer was but the portraits are full of character and rather wonderful. They remind the casual visitor like me that these sheds aren’t just a bit of Hasting’s history, they are essential to working people’s livelihoods today.
The photographer has captured some lovely relaxed moments… mug of tea in hand, cigarette time, hanging about with mates, peering out through the doors.
There is a lot to learn from photography about viewpoints, poses and lighting. I’m just sorry I’m not able to credit the photographer.
All in all a lovely morning but next time I visit Hastings I’ll make sure it is not Monday!