Memory of Blake lives on at beach

GIANT images projected on Bognor Regis seafront ensured the area’s most famous poet lived on.

The 10m-wide and two storey-high photographs were shown on the east side of Bognor Regis Pier last Friday in a project inspired by William Blake.

The side of the structure was darkened for the occasion to ensure the portraits were seen at their best.

They were the result of a modern seaside photo booth staged by artist Rebecca Locke on the beach a week earlier.

Rebecca used lights, torches and glow sticks to enable members of the public to paint with light and captured the result on camera

The use of imagination was inspired by the poem, Jerusalem, which was famously written by Blake in Felpham.

Among those who went along to the bandstand to join in the fun on a misty and pitch-black evening was Selsey resident Helen Gurnhill, 47.

The full-time mother-of-three said: “This is imaginative and it’s different. I’m totally fascinated by it. I love photography.

“There’s no right or wrong to it. It’s all about a person’s vision.”

Also there were Pat Blackman, 77, Ernie Blackman, 83, and Pete Lock, 88, all from Worthing.

Mrs Blackman said: “It has been interesting to come along.”

Rebecca grew up in Bognor. She is now based in New York City but has kept her love of the town which is shown in some of the works she exhibits around the world.

She said: “I went into the Morgan Library in New York and they have a large collection of Blake’s work.

“They gave me an original copy of Jerusalem to read and, in its hundred pages, he mentions Felpham and the coastline.

“He talks about imagination all the way through the work.”

The 12 best shots from her William Blake imagination photo booth will be printed and shown in shop windows around Bognor.

The photo booth was part of a series of events to celebrate the Magnum Photos agency staging its City to the Sea project in Bognor.

This included a week-long workshop at the town’s Butlin’s last week and an evening with Magnum photographer Peter Marlow.

The occasion was also backed by Goldsmiths, University of London, Butlin’s and Arun District Council, which gave Rebecca a grant of some £2,000.