changing-edge

Changing Edge

About this Project

This project came about when I moved from Leicestershire to South Wales. I had grown up near the north west Lancashire coast and remember well walks through the pine woods of Formby and Ainsdale and on to expansive sands. The coast was ‘always there’ and when something is ‘always there’ there is a tendancy to take it for granted.

Holidaying in Western Scotland during many of my formative years saw us exploring the tide lines, crabing and rock-pooling, fishing or out and about in boats, some that needed continual bailing to others that cruised through the Inner Hebredies.

So much coast and so much edge; a barrier that held you physically back yet pushed your horizons and allowed you to gaze and contemplate; coastline that defined your location in a real sense. It always seemed to me such a contrast, the edge seperating two ridiculously different bodies, water and land, yet both intrinsinctly linked. The area of transition constantly on the move, shifting, never constant from each push. The revealing of a new landscape as the pull of the moon lessened and the unremitting continuance of the process providing a constant that was familiar and reassuring.

Visually the edge is a continual source of inspirational energy. Just one bay would be enough to sustain a lifetimes work, yet the British Isles offers an impossible 20,000 miles of coastline.

I moved to Leicester in 1982 and for four years felt land-locked. Only a seventy mile journey would take you to that edge again, by most accounts it’s the furthest point from the coast in Great Britain and for the first time it wasn’t ‘always there’ and I missed it. I felt curiously isolated. There was no defining edge to give structure to location; nowhere to gaze beyond all else. On returning to the coastal fringes, this time in South Wales, a renewed vigour returned and the raising of the heart beat that never fails me when I catch site of the sea was there again.

Through this body of work I am aiming to hold something of this extraordinary power and pull the coast has on me and to visually explore the many metaphors the edge offers for what Alfred Steiglitz, in his cloud studies called ‘equivalents’.

Project Timeline

1958

Born on the North West coast of Lancashire a mile or so from the sea. Many walks through the Ainsdale sand dunes with family from an early age.

1964

Begin a six year run of holidays on the West coast of Scotland on the shores of Loch Melfort with the family staying in a tucked away cottage with expansive views over the islands of Shuna, Luing and Scarba.

1979

Move to Farnham, Surrey to study photography. For the first time feel landlocked some 40 miles or so from the nearest coast.

1982

Find work as a medical photographer in Leicester, the most land locked place in the British Isles.

1986

Become photographer for the Museum of Welsh Life and move to South Wales. Begin to explore the coast around Southerndown and Nash Point. Feel like I’ve come home. Fully appreciate the emotional significance of living near the sea.

1987

Begin extensive work around the Glamorgan Heritage Coast; fourteen miles stretching from Abethaw to Porthcawl.

1990

Begin to explore the Pembrokeshire coast, working primarily on the two beaches of Druidstone and Broadhaven and predominately in the winter months.

2000

Produce an exhibition from the work in Pembrokeshire and the Heritage Coast that is shown in various venues across Wales.

2004

Collaborate with the artist Brendan Burns and the poet Morgan Francis on a project, ‘Room Between Our Voices’ that is exhibited in Wales. The work draws parallels between three art forms taking the coast as it’s starting point.

2006

Extend the project into the west coast of Scotland and the Hebridean islands. The edge widens.

2009

Begin a time series of small, often unseen movements on beaches in South Wales, working primarily with macro lenses.

2010

Lecture extensively in South and Mid Wales on the current work from Changing Edge to photographic and natural history societies.

2012

Begin to explore a further collaboration with Brendan Stuart Burns using his paintings a physical landscapes in their own right and extending the premise and way of working to the localities we have both worked in.