You never know what assignments are going to land on your desk, sometimes photo shoots are booked weeks in advance and come with spreadsheets of shots required and a detailed brief. Other times, it's an email with a brief description of what's needed and a meeting point from where I have to be prepared for almost anything. I often travel light when it comes to photography kit, a Nikon 7200 body with a couple of lenses and speedlight stuffed into a tough Billingham bag and tripod balanced over my shoulder. It covers most eventualities, including unexpectedly going down a mine. I had thought it was mostly going to be exterior shots of South Crofty mine at Pool, but it turned out to be a trip underground as well, which was all kinds of fascinating.
Once we'd been kitted out with our protective safety gear, we trundled down the mine in a clattery landrover, after about 800ft, we got out and continued on foot. Clearly, one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to taking photos down the mine is the complete absence of any natural light. This, along with tricky conditions underfoot and water dripping from above made for interesting shooting conditions. Setting up long exposure shots on the tripod and then illuminating the various compositions with a headtorch worked surprisingly well. Focusing took consideration, mostly because I could barely see anything through the viewfinder! But after a little trial and error with shutter speeds, I managed to come away with a handful of shots.
With thanks to South Crofty Mine and Cornwall Trade & Investment for this assignment, it's an experience that will stay with me for a while.
Above: South Crofty Mine at Pool.
Above: Heading to the mine entrance in the old Landy.
Above: The tunnel that leads down into the mine itself.
Above: The ventilation system way below ground.
I’ve worked with the team at the Hidden Hut for the last few years, photographing their feast nights. In that time, through all winds, weathers and seasons, I’ve gathered a library of photos of life at the Hut. It’s been a real privilege to be able to work on a photography project over such a long period of time. The opportunity to capture the way the light and the atmosphere changes according to the time of year down there is a real luxury, it deserves the hype, it is truly a special place. Over this time friendships have been formed and a lot of good food has been eaten.
So, taking all this into account, it’s been very exciting to see the Hidden Hut’s cookbook come to life when it was published by Harper Collins on 3rd May. It’s a beautifully produced book with some lovely Scandi inspired layouts and sumptuous food photography from Susan Bell. It’s lovely to see that a bundle of feast night photography has made it into the book as well, forming the introduction to the book and are dotted throughout the subsequent pages, helping to set the (often smokey) scene. Congratulations to Si & Jem for producing such a beautiful book, it's been a real joy to work with you both over these last few years. My Nikon has been well and truly permeated by the smell of smoke from the Hut fires!
Enjoy a few snaps below of the book and of the lovely launch that took place in Borough Market:
Above: Introduction page accompanied by a moody shot taken at one of the rather inclement feast nights. Can't beat the great British summer time.
Above: One of my favourite feasts, a long table along the shoreline of Porthcurnick beach, beautiful lobsters over the grill. Just gorgeous.
Above: Along the path that leads down to Porthcurnick, taken on Boxing Day 2016.
Above: Hidden Hut cookbook launch at Borough Market Hall, London.
Above: Piles of beautiful books for sale at the launch