Shuttered Shops, Early Sunday Morning

Although its usually takes me a couple of miles out of my way, depending on where I’ve ridden that morning, I always like to make a pass through Hastings at the end of my ride – pedalling along the seafront promenade, past the pier and the faded old hotels and B&Bs, past the fish-and-chips shops and jellied eel stalls, the putt-putt golf and carnival rides and tacky seaside amusements and on down to the working end of the beach where the fishermen haul their wooden boats up onto the shingle to unload their catches. I love the counterpoints these disparate worlds offer to the prim beauty of the English lanes and the openness of the marshes through which I’ve already passed, and the heightened sense such contrasts give me of having come far and seen much. And while I can admire the quaint postcard prettiness of the English country lanes – all hedgerows and hawthorn in bloom and large shady oaks – the transience and hardboiled cheer of the seaside cavalcade, and their echoes of long-ago bucket-and-spade holidays, strikes a chord with me as well, calling to mind very, very dim and distant memories of walking along the boardwalk at Asbury Park, on the Jersey shore, as a small child in the early Sixties, marvelling at everything with a childish wonder. ┬áSomething of that wonder still remains. The backdrop of these candy and ice cream shops, shuttered-up on a Sunday morning, formed caught my eye, as did the windows of the flats above and their suggestion of lives and worlds beyond the periphery of my own. And so I paused to capture this image, ‘developing’ it in gritty black-and-white using a process that replicates Kodak Panatomic-X film.