Floodlit sussex by Ian Hughes

Floodlit Sussex On a bridge in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, in 2004, a teenage girl passed by and commented loudly to her friend about the "idiot" setting up a tripod to take pictures of the floodlit Millmoor football ground from a distance. “What’s the point in that, like? He’s too far away to see t’ball!!” she tutted. The idiot was me, and the girl had a good point. I was to repeat this idiotic waste of time on a few more occasions over the next few years, outside other football grounds mostly dotted around the south-east of England (where people only call you names when you’re not there!). From 2008 onwards, I was doing it every week between late September and early April – when the nights are longer and darker. There was no stopping this idiotic behaviour! For many years I thought that perhaps it was just me who saw floodlit sporting arenas as a great spectacle for people passing by outside as well as for those watching the action inside or on TV. It wasn’t just the big stadiums that created a spectacle – if anything, the small village club grounds made for more interesting pictures. I find that nondescript suburban cul-de-sacs, old terraced streets or quiet country lanes surrounding the grounds can be transformed – lit up like Hollywood film sets by the floodlights spilling over from the nearby football grounds. I feel compelled to photograph these scenes and capture the excitement that I felt as a teenage boy when walking to evening matches at Everton's Goodison Park, with the distant beams of light from the stadium like beacons drawing us towards it. This year I photographed the 48th of Sussex's 48 floodlit football grounds. I returned to many of them a few times to try to improve on the pictures that I already had. Travelling by train or bus to all these towns and villages across Sussex, having a pint in the local pubs, getting lost and photographing the area around the grounds has been a great way to get to know this county that I moved to in 1997. Thanks for looking and I hope that you find something you enjoy. Ian Hughes December 2016