Through the Looking Glass, Along the Sussex Lanes

For the longest time I have been looking for a way to illustrate the sense of escapism I often feel when I vanish down these crooked little lanes in the Sussex weald. It’s as though a magic portal opens and one is transported back to an older, slower gentler age where life is lived on the village scale. It’s another of those concepts painters can illustrate nicely since they can visualise just such a scene and then render it on paper or canvas, complete with obliging cyclist. A photographer, however, has to work with the lanes as he or she finds them. In this case that meant a lot of location scouting, looking about for possibilities whenever and wherever I rode and then once finding the spot, waiting for the right time of year abd making four visits to the site to capture the image I had in mind. I used the hedgerows and the bough of the oak along the lane to create the ‘portal’ and timed my visit so that the lanes were deep in shadow and the village in the distance – Doleham – was dozing in hazy summer sunshine, as though it were a painting. It was then a matter of pedalling into frame and having the slant of sunshine just touching my shoulder as I enter this old-fashioned world.