Photographer creates Rustington Folk portrait collection for posterity

A Rustington travel photographer has branched out into portraits to create a collection capturing the pandemic for posterity.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 5:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 8:18 am

Baz Diprose put out a plea to a huge number of names in the village and ended up with 20 simple, thought-provoking pictures, captured in lockdown, which he hopes will tell a tale about our community in a pandemic for the future.

Called Rustington Folk, the collection has been shared through the Rustington Past and Present page on Facebook, with the help of Sue Sula, one of the portrait subjects.

Baz, founder of Chopphotography, said: “My areas of photography are travel, more rugged terrains and waterfalls, but alas, due to lockdown, there’s not too many around here I can shoot.

Rustington travel photographer Baz Diprose

“So, I came up with the idea to capture individuals in our local community, just everyday people, so that hopefully we can look back on these images one day and that they might tell a tale simply by looking at them.

“I don’t do portraits, this was also something new to me. My approach was simple, I didn’t want any major smiles or poses, more simple, more provoking images and all set in mono.”

Baz sent out a huge number of letters, targeting people he felt had really helped shape our community, and this resulted in the first ten images, captured over ten days.

These were shared on Rustington Past and Present, which he said was the ideal platform.

Sir Peter Bottomley

Baz said: “Seven I felt was too short, 14 was too long, ten was just enough. It wasn’t easy to get people on board. I wrote the same letter to many people, it was a lot of letters! I think for a few, they didn’t really grasp what I was saying.

“The first ten who jumped on board were very interested and loved the notion. It turned out to be a bigger hit than I thought it was going to be.”

As the project took off, people started writing to Baz privately, asking if he was doing it again and needed more candidates.

He said: “It was quite overwhelming, in a good way. I ended up capturing 20 people in total and it was great.

Sue Douglas-Hill

“I just wanted to create something different, something to look back on, some kind of lockdown Covid memory lane, if you like. There are all walks of life and even two Covid survivors in this mix.

“After being extremely unwell, Greg Metcalf and Anne Lecuyer survived. I felt this knowledge lent something to the project, a sense of hope perhaps.

“The images just told a story by looking at them, and begging the question ‘what are you thinking, what have you been through?’.”

Baz lived abroad for 15 years and was a diving instructor in Cayman for seven years. That is where it all began, under the waves, and underwater photography became a big obsession.

David Thatcher

“Sadly, one day a nasty hurricane called Ivan came along and decimated the island. It took everything I owned into the ocean, my house, my car, and all my photography,” he revealed.

“But my lust for photography continued and here we are, all lockdown in a pandemic. This idea for Rustington Folk came to me a while ago, I was just unsure how to approach it, and if it was actually a good idea. But I think as time passed, its timing was perfectly placed.”

Baz was inspired by a collage of celebrity portraits in black and white.

He explained: “I was captivated by it, the characters we all know but they felt almost soulless. They left me thinking what they might be thinking. Then the cogs really started to turn.

“I knew I could do the same but with people from our own community, people that we knew the name of but wouldn’t know them if we walked pass them, or we knew the face, but couldn’t place the name. So many times, you mention names in conversation, and see faces but you can’t place them. I wanted those people.

“The image wasn’t to be all smiles, I wanted them to be more thought provoking. I wanted the audience to be left thinking ‘what has that person gone through in this pandemic’. I also didn’t want to bombard people with too much information. I wanted the image to do the talking.”

Greg Metcalfe

Each person provided their name, age, occupation, birthplace and a single word to sum up how they felt.

Baz said he ended on a high with Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley.

“It took him six minutes to respond, not only with a very positive response but he was extraordinary kind with his words. I was gobsmacked,” he said.

“This wasn’t about politics, this was about a photo set in time. Nothing more, nothing less. I would do a round three but I’d have to top Sir Peter, and I think the Prime Minster is a little tied up right now.”

A Rustington travel photographer has branched out into portraits to create a collection capturing the pandemic for posterity.

Baz Diprose put out a plea to a huge number of names in the village and ended up with 20 simple, thought-provoking pictures, captured in lockdown, which he hopes will tell a tale about our community in a pandemic for the future.

Called Rustington Folk, the collection has been shared through the Rustington Past and Present page on Facebook, with the help of Sue Sula, one of the portrait subjects.

Baz, founder of Chopphotography, said: “My areas of photography are travel, more rugged terrains and waterfalls, but alas, due to lockdown, there’s not too many around here I can shoot.

“So, I came up with the idea to capture individuals in our local community, just everyday people, so that hopefully we can look back on these images one day and that they might tell a tale simply by looking at them.

“I don’t do portraits, this was also something new to me. My approach was simple, I didn’t want any major smiles or poses, more simple, more provoking images and all set in mono.”

Baz sent out a huge number of letters, targeting people he felt had really helped shape our community, and this resulted in the first ten images, captured over ten days.

These were shared on Rustington Past and Present, which he said was the ideal platform.

Baz said: “Seven I felt was too short, 14 was too long, ten was just enough. It wasn’t easy to get people on board. I wrote the same letter to many people, it was a lot of letters! I think for a few, they didn’t really grasp what I was saying.

“The first ten who jumped on board were very interested and loved the notion. It turned out to be a bigger hit than I thought it was going to be.”

As the project took off, people started writing to Baz privately, asking if he was doing it again and needed more candidates.

He said: “It was quite overwhelming, in a good way. I ended up capturing 20 people in total and it was great.

“I just wanted to create something different, something to look back on, some kind of lockdown Covid memory lane, if you like. There are all walks of life and even two Covid survivors in this mix.

“After being extremely unwell, Greg Metcalf and Anne Lecuyer survived. I felt this knowledge lent something to the project, a sense of hope perhaps.

“The images just told a story by looking at them, and begging the question ‘what are you thinking, what have you been through?’.”

Baz lived abroad for 15 years and was a diving instructor in Cayman for seven years. That is where it all began, under the waves, and underwater photography became a big obsession.

“Sadly, one day a nasty hurricane called Ivan came along and decimated the island. It took everything I owned into the ocean, my house, my car, and all my photography,” he revealed.

“But my lust for photography continued and here we are, all lockdown in a pandemic. This idea for Rustington Folk came to me a while ago, I was just unsure how to approach it, and if it was actually a good idea. But I think as time passed, its timing was perfectly placed.”

Baz was inspired by a collage of celebrity portraits in black and white.

He explained: “I was captivated by it, the characters we all know but they felt almost soulless. They left me thinking what they might be thinking. Then the cogs really started to turn.

“I knew I could do the same but with people from our own community, people that we knew the name of but wouldn’t know them if we walked pass them, or we knew the face, but couldn’t place the name. So many times, you mention names in conversation, and see faces but you can’t place them. I wanted those people.

“The image wasn’t to be all smiles, I wanted them to be more thought provoking. I wanted the audience to be left thinking ‘what has that person gone through in this pandemic’. I also didn’t want to bombard people with too much information. I wanted the image to do the talking.”

Each person provided their name, age, occupation, birthplace and a single word to sum up how they felt.

Baz said he ended on a high with Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley.

“It took him six minutes to respond, not only with a very positive response but he was extraordinary kind with his words. I was gobsmacked,” he said.

“This wasn’t about politics, this was about a photo set in time. Nothing more, nothing less. I would do a round three but I’d have to top Sir Peter, and I think the Prime Minster is a little tied up right now.”

Sophie Guess
Olly Hite
Diane Clear
Christine Broomfield
Simon Lawrence
Justine Giovannini
Anne Lecuyer
Malcolm Hawke
Pamela Wardle
Kerry Douglas
George Folly
The Rev Natalie Loveless
Sue Sula
Andy Ray
Curtis Diamond
Jamie Hawkins