MARITIME is the new Sussex coast video from O.W.L (Orwellian World Landscape) to coincide with their accompanying article in issue 22 of Vague Mag. The video of course is brilliant from start to finish and features plenty of highly likeable heads such as: Louis Rose-Antoine, Rupert Rose-Antoine, Jimmy Silver, Jack Gorham, Al Hodgson, Dougie George, Henry Bailey, Cal Dawson, Ellis Gardiner, Dan Fisher-Eustance and Harrison Woolgar. This visual treat was filmed spectacularly by Al Hodgson, who tells us more about this project below.
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Introduction & Words by: Al Hodgson
Photography by: James Griffiths, Al Hodgson & Sam Roberts
Videography by: Al Hodgson
There’s a unique and unmistakable charm to the weatherbeaten textures and faded marine motifs synonymous with British seaside destinations, and with such rich maritime histories, Brighton and it’s neighbouring Sussex towns are quintessential examples.
This project was an attempt to celebrate that; filming only at spots situated across Brighton’s seafront, and with an accompanying 4-day cycle/wild-camping trip east and west along the Sussex coastlines to Worthing, Newhaven, Eastbourne and Hastings.
However, much like any concept project, this coastal focus didn’t come without it’s inevitable challenges. Despite COVID’s restrictions freeing up many of Brighton’s seaside spots early in the year, the volume of footfall on the city’s beachfront remained heavy and abundant, making logistical planning of how and when to skate specific spots paramount almost every single time we attempted to film.
Yet, after 5 months scouring up and down the coast for new spots and new approaches, cleaning salty fisheyes and dodging droves of day-trippers and drunks, we finally had a video. Big thanks to all the guys for persevering with the limitations and making it happen, to Griff for all the photography and as always to Vague for the support!
The Story behind Brighton’s Dolphins:
Brighton has a longstanding maritime connection to dolphins, a fact which is echoed by the strange dolphin-like iconography decorating much of the city and specifically its beachfront decor, with them most noticeably being embellished on the iconic turquoise beachfront railings.
Documented history with the marine mammals dates back as far as the 1700s, with regular dolphin sightings cited by the workmen of the small fishing village then known as Brighthelmstone. Two dolphins are even emblazoned on the city’s coat of arms, underneath which the Latin proclaims; INTER UNDAS ET COLLES FLOREMUS, or Between Downs and Sea We Flourish.
SEA LIFE Brighton (formerly Brighton Aquarium – the world’s oldest operating aquarium, opening back in 1872) was host to a number of dolphins from 1968, and was one of the last aquariums in Britain to hold them, until increasing pressure against marine mammals being held in captivity forced the closure of their ‘Dolphinarium’, and the subsequent long-awaited reintegration and release of their dolphins into the wild in 1991.
Occasional sightings of Bottlenose, White-Beaked, and Common Dolphins still occur to this day across Brighton and the wider Sussex coasts, and the Sussex Dolphin Project currently works to ensure the protection and conservation of cetacean life across the county.
1 – Between 1730 and 1760, many prominent doctors prescribed drinking Brighton’s seawater and sea bathing as a cure for a number of ailments.
2 – With construction beginning in 1883, the Volks Electric Railway that runs along a stretch of Brighton’s seafront is the oldest operational electric railway in the world.
3 – Alongside Brighton’s famous Palace Pier, the city is also home to two ‘lost piers’; the iconic West Pier structure, lost to disrepair, storm damage and then arson in 2003, and the lesser known Royal Suspension Chain Pier, built in 1823 and destroyed in a major storm in 1896.
4 – Built in 1971, Brighton Marina is the largest man-made marina in Europe, covering a total of 127 acres.
5 – Brighton was the first place in Britain to open a naturist beach in 1979.