We spotted Postman Steve on a Lymington Facebook group back in 2016 and quietly noted and followed his photographic work.
During the summer in 2018 when he posted some particularly superb images of the Lymington Harbour, we dropped him a line and asked him for an interview. Rachel interviewed Steve and here’s what Lymington’s most famous Postie said…
What’s it like being a Lymington Postie?
I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I enjoy my job. I love being outside. I’m my own boss. I love wearing my shorts all the time. It feels weird putting trousers on. It slows you down. So I only wear them when it gets snowy usually. My beat is quite big. I walk 6-7 miles a day, every day. I get up at 4.30am, am in the sorting office for 5.45am and then sort for 4 hours before getting out to drop the post. I’m very fit. The routine gets under your skin.
So Steve, what makes you tick as a photographer?
That’s easy. I love to share and inspire people. It might sound cheesy but I get a huge amount of satisfaction when people write to me and say how my picture has cheered them on their day. I get a lot of comments from older folk who are no longer mobile and can’t get into the forest areas. Or perhaps they can’t get up and out at the time I do. Quite a few seem to love my pictures and it makes me happy that I’ve brightened their day. It’s not hard to get out and take a picture. It’s a bit harder editing them. But I feel like I’ve got a duty to keep going now to keep up. Some of my followers are expats and tell me that my work reminds them how special this part of the world is.
So how famous are you?
Well, for starters, that’s your calling me famous, not me! But I have been stopped on the street quite a few times.
You say you have a ‘photographers eye’. Where did that come from then?
I really don’t know. But it’s as good as it’s frustrating. I have to concentrate when I’m driving. Sometimes I get distracted and want to stop where I shouldn’t. You can see a lot from the car in this National Park. Having an eye is about putting a rectangle into your vision at all times. It’s about the balance of colour, shape and interest. If you really look, and you’re creative, there is so much to see and to frame in your eye.
Does it get you into trouble often then?
Well yes, a bit. I get lost in the forest quite often. Because it’s so flat and there are so few landmarks, I get walking, and focus on the next shot and the next and then I turn around and it’s an ‘uh oh’ moment. It happens quite a bit.
Do you take a camera when you’re out posting letters?
No. It’s too distracting. I’d be too slow. My beat is between the High Street and the sea, so there aren’t too many views. Good job really.
So when do you get out to take pics?
On my days off I might lie-in until 5am if I’m lucky. So mainly I get up and take my camera and head off to the coast or to the forest. Sometimes, that early in the day, the forest can be creepy. It’s so silent. Eerie even. You see some amazing things. I try to catch them. It’s a privilege to be out then. I’ll stay out all day if I can.
Which are your favourite pictures?
The shots that I took around Bolderwood of the moss on the bottom of those narrow trees. That’s pretty unusual. The leaves had come down hard of the oaks nearby so there was a carpet of orange and these amazing green fluffy tree trunks. That’s beautiful.
Another recent favourite is the stream in Rhinefield. This last bit of rain has flooded the stream. It means the canopy was reflected in the floodwater. That was pretty spectacular. It’s that sort of thing that most people never get to see. People don’t know where to go or when, so they miss so much. Whilst our National Park is one of the smallest in Britain, if you know where to go, you can get to some extraordinary places. And if you don’t know, just try to go out early in the morning, head off from any car park and keep walking. You’ll soon find something wonderful. Just keep your eyes open and make sure that you stop to take it all in. We’ve all got the same 24 hours in a day. It just depends how you use it.