A Lewes photographer was bemused when staff at the Tourist Information Centre told him they would not stock his set of bonfire prints as a ‘No Popery’ logo was in appropriate.
Xavi Dom Buendia, of XDB Photography, said it was ridiculous when ‘No Popery’ banners were put up in the town and paraded for Bonfire.
But Lewes District Council said it was not a matter of the slogan being inappropriate rather that they would not have the ‘widest retail appeal’.
Xavi visited the High Street TIC a couple of weeks ago, hoping to sell some of his work in the run-up to November 5.
“I had a walk around to see what kind of things they sell and promote and after a few minutes browsing I approached the lady at the counter and asked if I could leave a couple of postcards to promote my work,” he said.
“I explained I’m a local photographer and just finished this black and white project including bonfire images.
“Without even listening to what I was saying she immediately said: “‘No, I don’t think we can have this in’.
“Then a second lady came from the back and had a brief look and gave me all sort of excuses why they shouldn’t take it.
“She said it will offend so many people; that I was making a statement with the ‘No Popery’ slogan, and the image was not appropriate.
“The reason I was so upset is because the ladies didn’t even want to listen to what I had to say, treated me as if I were doing something wrong and were very defensive.
“Also, the objectives stated were completely out of place.
“Instead of trying to help the local community and local artists they seemed to want to get rid of me as soon as possible.”
A council spokesperson said: “We are always interested in displaying and promoting items both made locally and reflecting local traditions though not always able to display every item that we are approached with.
“The impression was given that they were a retail item and that the image was presented for our consideration.
“With this in mind, the image presented wasn’t deemed inappropriate or one to incite religious hatred, just from an aesthetic point of view not an item that would have the widest retail appeal.”
Xavi has worked for three years on the project Bonfire Light: a boxed set of 20 fine art black and white prints of bonfire night procession and celebration.
Find out more about this project inspired by the local customs and his work by heading to Xavi’s website at xdbphotography.com/bonfire