‘Despite spending most of my time in Santa Monica, I’ve never been able to shake the allure of the British seaside’ … Deakins’ bus-stop moment
The man who filmed Skyfall, Blade Runner 2049 and No Country for Old Men started out as a photographer in Devon. He explains why this shot of a bus-stop, taken at the height of the British summer, is his best
Early one morning in the summer of 2004, I left my flat in Devon and drove up to Weston-super-Mare to spend the day taking photographs. It was a particularly rainy day, hardly what most people would consider ideal weather for a trip to the seaside. I parked near the southern promenade, wandered towards the Grand Pier and then came across this bus stop. Its architecture perfectly framed the beach cafe selling cockles and mussels in the background – and the dreariness of the British summer.
I returned to it throughout the day and took variations of this shot, but none were as strong. I didn’t speak to the woman here – I rarely make conversation when I’m taking photographs – but she gave me a kind of wordless nod after looking at me and wondering what on earth I was doing. Just as I went to take the photograph, she looked across at the poster. It was the perfect moment. I loved the juxtaposition of this elderly lady holding her umbrella at the height of the British summer, contrasting with the semi-naked young woman lying in the sunshine on a boardwalk. I liked the age gap between the two.