This major exhibition examines the relationship between photographers, photography and the British seaside from the 1850s to the present.
Including early photographic depictions of waves, picture postcards revelling in the glee and grime of British resorts, intimate shots of holiday and relaxation, reportage and the photo series of eminent photographers, the exhibition presents the seaside in a multitude of different visions, celebrating our special relationship with our coast.
The exhibition features unknown works from across photography’s history as well as images by such celebrated photographers as Jane Bown, Henri Cartier Bresson, Vanley Burke, Anna Fox, Susan Hiller, Martin Parr, and Ingrid Pollard.
Personal and social histories are captured by camera by the sea. The exhibits include Raymond Lawson’s remarkable chronicles of family life in Whitstable (1959), Enzo Ragazzini’s images of the anarchy of the 1970 Isle of Wight festival and Stuart Griffiths’ bleak documentation of the 1990 rave scene in Brighton. Grace Robertson records the raucous goings-on of a woman’s day out to the coast in the 1950s, while Daniel Meadows, Barry Lewis and Dafydd Jones all photographed at Butlins in the 1970s. A more intimate narrative is revealed in the photographs that preserve the seaside haven created by composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears, partners in music and in life.
In response to Seaside: Photographed, artists Bethan Peters and Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth have been commissioned to create a new work inspired by local residents.