The plan was to spend a few summer weeks over a number of years traveling around the coast of England making portraits of the people I met. In 2009 I left London for my first ‘coastal’ portrait trip but after chasing and wrestling my 9ft x 6ft collapsible white background along the promenades of various south-coast towns in windy rain, I decided that an outdoor project was too chancy.
Around the same time Professor Val Williams invited me to set up a series of portrait studios in her Hastings Gallery during the 2009 Hastings Old Town Carnival Week. Accepting Val’s invitation to move the project indoors, I held 3 portrait studio sessions over a week in August and made 183 portraits.
100 of those images made on the coast and during the 2009 Hastings Old Town Carnival Week have now been selected into the ‘Seaside: Photographed’ exhibition at the Turner Contemporary in Margate.
This major exhibition will examine the relationship between photographers, photography and the British seaside from the 1850s to the present. It is Turner Contemporary’s first ever photography exhibition.
As well as featuring the work of eminent photographers including Jane Bown, Henri Cartier Bresson, Vanley Burke, Anna Fox, Susan Hiller, Paul Nash, Martin Parr, and Ingrid Pollard, the curators have included rich and often unknown work from across photography’s history, including Raymond Lawson’s remarkable chronicle of family life in Whitstable.
Curated by Val Williams and Karen Shepherdson, Seaside: Photographed is a touring exhibition organised by Turner Contemporary. The exhibition will take place at Turner Contemporary in summer 2019, touring to three other UK venues in 2020, each with their own unique connection to the seaside; John Hansard Gallery, Grundy Art Gallery, and Newlyn Art Gallery and the Exchange. With support from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.
A book to accompany the exhibition, Seaside: Photographed, will be available to pre-order via Turner Contemporary’s online shop, published by Thames & Hudson.