Vicky Meets… Rachel Poulton, photographer and writer

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Vicky Meets… Rachel Poulton, photographer and writer

‘Unseen’ is the title of your forthcoming exhibition. Will you tell me more?

My ‘Unseen’ exhibition is on show at the Graylingwell Chapel, Chichester, from 11 May. A series of photographs created over the past year in sites of historical, archaeological and spiritual significance in Sussex and exhibited in public spaces.

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I hope it will connect people with their local landscape and inspire them to go walking and exploring. I decided to spend the year following the Druid eightfold year and celebrating each seasonal festival with a walk in one of Sussex’s ancient sites.

Rachel Poulton, photographer and writerRachel Poulton, photographer and writer
Rachel Poulton, photographer and writer

I’ve been exploring the Sussex landscape for many years and creating my zine series Unseen, but this project brought the places and ideas together. In the zines I focus on one particular site, I walk intuitively, following atmosphere and instinct; it’s rooted in Romanticism and psychogeography and the Surrealist’s dérive, or drift.

The Surrealists would find places that were off the beaten track and map their journey through words and images, I have been mapping my routes with photographs.

After each walk I research the place and write about my thoughts and experience and explore the history, topography and lore attached to it.

Did you enjoy the experience of visiting the sites?

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For me, walking is therapeutic; getting out in nature and onto the downs is the perfect balm when life overwhelms.

My walks, are also a search for the sublime and spirit of place. By walking intuitively and being open to atmosphere and happenstance, I really get to tap into the essence of places.

For thousands of years, ancient places like Kingley Vale, The Trundle, Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings have built up a history of their own and you can sense it.

Walking on the key dates of nature’s calendar was amazing, I experienced quite a sublime temporal and psychic shift.

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As I rolled with the seasons, time stretched and slowed, the year felt longer.

In the past I have always dreaded the darkness of winter but having celebratory markers like the autumn equinox and the winter solstice is a reminder that each season has its beauty and that nature is always pushing us forward; I found myself making the most of every moment.

And there’s a zine making workshop for young people at the chapel too?

On 11 May young people aged 10-16 years can explore the Sussex landscape and the philosophical ideas around home and belonging. Making a zine is really good fun, it’s a way of sharing all your ideas through your own little magazine. There will be lots of cut-and-paste creativity.

What’s next for you?

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The ‘Unseen’ exhibition has already been up in Brighton and after Graylingwell I will move the work to Picnic Gallery in Hastings and then I’ll be exhibiting in The Old Mint House in Pevensey.

I’ve also published a photobook of the work which is available at Zine Making bookings: via Eventbrite (Zine Making Workshop at Graylingwell Chapel) or

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