Intervention: Distracted by Rust

Groyne posts, waveworn, and the April sunshine draws me back to the beach and my photographic odyssey for 2018 as I photograph the ever-changing groyne post tops of the groyne field of Bexhill beach.

I am distracted by the rust patterns – I think that I may be developing a new addiction.

Groyne posts expose rusty remnants and the soft worn quality of the metal and the sharp talon-like qualities of shadows. The saltwater oxidises the metal, the oxide stains the wood and slowly bonds the metal object to the wood. The de-laminating ferrule creates a landscape of red rust and yellow lichen.

Intervention: Waveworn 3 – 23 March 2018

Waveworn open from 3 – 23 March 2018

Waveworn at Martyrs Gallery, Lewes presents a selection of work that I carried out over the past 15 years under the working title of Intervention. Please check the gallery website for opening times.

Waveworn documents weathering and erosion on the Sussex coast through the medium of film and still photography, catalogued by location and date to build up a complete and beautiful archive of change over the decades. Waveworn explores pressing issues of environmental instability, but also timeless human themes of change, impermanence and desire for (the illusion of) control.

An interview with Alex Leith for `Viva Lewes’ (March 2018 edition)


And it is always good to get feedback … please Tweet @Clifffart if you visit the exhibition.

















Intervention: Groyne 76

Fascinated by change, what better way to spend time than photographing groynes of the inter-tidal zone of Bexhill beach.

These images are of one post top, situated in Groyne 76.

This piece explores intervention on our shoreline, using two temporal distortions. Compressing time, I present one post top, photographed over six years, with seven images. Slowing time, I concurrently present the same post dealing with the waves of a bi-diurnal and lateral tidal flow.


Much of our landscape exists in its current form as a result of our intervention. Groynes are an example of this, existing in the rigours of the splash and inter-tidal zones.

This exploration has only just begun, the more I look the more I see and the more I want to know. Exploring and recording both for its own sake and for the metaphors it gives me with which to consider our relationship with this planet – our beautiful, powerful, fragile, life support system.

Click here to see a collection of prints showing the changing face of a post top.

Intervention: Post Top Portraits – Change Over Time

The sets of posts and planking running down the beach to the sea are an intervention in a dynamic system. They stand in the flow of sea and shingle and change the way it moves. Eddies of shingle build against them, flow over them and are battered against them by the sea.

This collection brings together images of a single post top, photographed over a number of years.
The title of each piece identifies the groyne number, and the years in which the post top was photographed.

There is often a tendency to hold on to the idea of permanence and not recognise change that happens gradually over an extended period of time. Gradual change, often unobserved is a core element of this work and acknowledges how the `natural’ world is changed in a managed environment and provides a perspective of change and the requirement to maintain an intervention in a dynamic system.

This work records the necessary tenacity of life and any structure on the beach in the intertidal zone, the dynamics of changing systems and the impact of coastal management.

Responsive Line: #portraitNovember

#portraitNovember on Twitter, and I share a series of faceless portraits and ask what is a portrait? Does the face have to be included to produce a portrait of a person? Or can collections of objects present an aspect of likeness? 

The objective was to achieve the likeness of a person, a sense not of what a person looks like but a sense of who the person is, using objects that form part of their everyday lives. As such it is also an exploration of metaphor as each object is a descriptive metaphor for an aspect of the individual’s life.

It is useful to consider four categories of metaphor:

Universal metaphor is in principle understandable by any other person, regardless of culture. These tend to be things that have clear, body related, functions.

Cultural metaphors make up the majority but require the audience is of the same culture, or has understanding of that culture, to communicate.

Sub-cultural often relates to specific skills related groups and interestingly can sometimes cross cultural boundaries.

Personal metaphors are those meanings we attach to objects on the basis of personal experience.

A true sense of a person, an informative likeness, is created by the selection of appropriate objects as metaphors. The effectiveness of the metaphor depends upon which category they are in, and the degree to which the audience are part of that category.

My personal view is that the face is like a product brand and only represents us in as much as it allows others to associate particular skills, qualities and attributes with that particular brand (face).

Inside looking out
I collect, make, do and see.
My face is not me.


My faceless portraits form part of:

Alternative Viewpoints, Towner Gallery, Eastbourne
Saturday 3 December at 4.00pm. Free.

Blue Monkey Network artists Cliff Crawford and Jan Turner respond to the `One Day Something Happens’ exhibition at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. The session will take place in the gallery space and offers a participatory experience in a fast-paced workshop exploring ideas and thoughts relating to the exhibition. What creates the likeness of a person in a portrait? Consider the objects that dress the image: faceless portraits.