“The Square Mile”

First Impressions

My first thought about this assignment was to review the village in which I’ve lived for 24 years and look specifically at the agricultural industry within it.  However, on reflection I decided to re-visit the North East coast, where I was brought up.   I had the idea of looking at it through child’s eyes and to take all images at child height but due to very wet weather (not conducive to a 60 year old spending time on her knees) and because I felt very self-conscious I abandoned that idea.  I then noticed how much things had changed and how my memory was decidedly blurred and so developed a theme of “Blurred Memories/Faded Glory”.  I wanted to include not only the faded glory of the British seaside resort but also of the industrial heritage of that coastline.


My inspiration was taken from:

Paul Tucker who is interested in the space between land and sea where he senses nostalgia and past glories of the seaside holiday which conflicts with the emptiness of the today’s landscape.


Rob Birrell who has published a book on the Faded Glories of Redcar and Whitley Bay as seaside resorts.


Lee Frost  is a well known published travel and landscape photographer who has taken many shots of the Northumberland coastline.  Whilst his beautiful photographs portray a romantic side to the coast they also demonstrate the emptiness and isolation of the seaside of the North East Coast.


Joe Cornish another famous and well esteemed landscape and travel photographer.  I particularly like the way he uses light.  Some of his coastal shots are shot into the light which gives an even greater perspective of emptiness and isolation.


Technical Approach

I primarily used a Canon 5D Mk III and a 25-104mm zoom lens.  Some shots were taken with a Lumix GX7 and a 14-42mm lens.  The Canon offers a greater range of settings and options, whilst the Lumix is a useful camera to have in my bag.  I focussed on the composition of my shots and the story I wanted them to portray.  Although inspired by both Lee Frost and Joe Cornish who frequently use slow shutter speeds I decided to not to try this for this exercise.  I did experiment with shooting into the light and using the light to best advantage.

After reviewing my photographs I tried to replicate the changes I observed in the landscape from coal still being washed up on the beach to the complete emptiness of Blyth beach in the middle of August.


Overall, I underexposed most shots, sometimes on purpose but sometimes not.

I found it incredibly difficult to weed out twelve shots because the subject I chose was too broad.

I am pleased that I achieved my goal to tell the story in a series of images, of the faded glory of this bit of coastline.

I feel that I still have a lot to learn and I am still not entirely confident with my camera.

Following comments from my tutor, I replaced the shot of the seaweed and coal which did not portray what I had intended as it wasn’t clear that it was in fact coal in the shot, with the shot of the ice cream cones.


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