Oh we do like to be beside the seaside. With the holiday season upon us, the London Photographer's Gallery has put on a timely exhibition that not only gives a snapshot of the contemporary British seaside, but also offers an intriguing glimpse into bygone breaks.
In these technological days of Instagram and Postino apps where anyone has the wherewithal to become a beach snapper, it’s easy to forget how specialist a skill seaside photography is.
Luke Stephenson, Mike Perry, Simon Roberts, Nicholas Hughes and John Hinde are the photographers showing 18 exquisite works that celebrate the UK’s holidaying habits.Not all of them are taken from the angle you might expect. Stephenson, for example, has taken 99 shots of the 99 flake-indulged ice cream, breathing new life into the sweet treat. Perry, meanwhile, explores a less glamorous staple of British coastal resorts: plastic detritus left washed up along the shoreline. His work focuses mainly on Wales and includes still life objects of discarded beach footwear - forgotten flip-flops and more.
One of the most endearing exhibitors is John Hinde. His photos and collections focus on the 1960s and 1970s heyday of holidaymaking Britain. This was an epoch when Billy Butlin’s camps were king and knobbly knees contests were as much a part of the UK coastal landscape as seaweed and fish and chips. Foremost among the pictures on display from Hinde’s vast archive is Elmar Ludwig’s stunning depiction of Dreamland, the Margate amusement park in its pomp. The Kent park, once one of Britain’s leading visitor attractions, closed in 2006. But this enduring picture immortalises Dreamland circa 1960, with a vibrancy that runs through Hinde’s series like lettering in a stick of seaside rock. The fast spirals are a joy.
Didn’t We Have a Lovely Time is showing at the London Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London until Sunday 31st August.
Read more about the exhibition here.
Image 1 -
The Dreamland Amusement Park, Margate
© John Hinde Archive / John Hinde Collection Ltd
Image 2 -
Brighton Palace Pier #B, from the series Pierdom, 2013
© Simon Roberts
Courtesy of the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery,