This ongoing project is a documentation of the East coast of Great Britain. Influences are drawn from the work of Gerhard Stromberg and his Coastline Catalogue series along with the writings of Sebald, the work in progress aims to draw together a collective reflection of our coastline and the settlements that sit along it. Only when we put these seemingly similar places alongside one another do we become aware of their individuality. The work also looks to explore our relationship to place based on our own individual experience whilst navigating our way through and around these places. It is also intending on acknowledging traces we leave in the landscapes within these places.
When General Franco closed the border between Spain and Gibraltar in 1969, it was in response to the Preamble in the Gibraltar Constitution Order of that same year effectively guaranteeing to the people of Gibraltar that it would forever remain part of the UK unless an Act of Parliament deemed otherwise. This was in response to the results of the 1967 referendum which left no room for doubt that the people of Gibraltar wished retain their link with Britain. What happened in the 13 years that followed the border closure could only be described as a monumental backfiring of Franco’s plan. While the people were contained, the sense of detachment from mainland Spain swelled. Their segregation and isolation solidified their bond as a community. At a point when they were forced to look in on themselves, they truly found who they were. Franco did not live to see the outcome of his decision to close the border, he died in 1975. The border had a partial re-opening in 1982 and was fully re-opened in 1985. In 2001 the UK government entered into secret talks with Spain stating that they would be open to sharing sovereignty of Gibraltar with Spain. It was an underhand tactic which left the people of Gibraltar and its government feeling betrayed and angry. Gibraltar once again called its own referendum in 2002 giving a result mimicking that of 1967. It was agreed that the UK would not enter into discussions of this sort again without the consent of Gibraltar, but the scars of this move are unlikely to fade. Gibraltarians are now forever fearful of a sell-out from within.
Gibraltar’s constant fight to justify its own existence has only tightened the knot that binds these people together. The only success of its traumatic past has been in solidifying the bond of its people which is becoming ever more indomitable with each attempt to undermine the Gibraltarian community and to dismiss it as its own place. With Brexit now on the horizon, the people of Gibraltar are soon faced with the prospect of dealing with the consequences of a vote result that they did not want. Of those that voted, 96% wanted to remain in the EU which is in stark contrast to the vote cast on the UK mainland.
This body of work, a work in progress, seeks to observe and document the landscape of Gibraltar. The aim of the imagery is to be the stimulus for a wider discussion and debate about its subject matter. It is ultimately about place, identity and our relationship to place and what this means for us at a time when many may be feeling detached, disenfranchised and politically homeless.
BETWEEN DARKNESS AND LIGHT
Between Darkness and Light observes the landscape of the coastal town of Lowestoft in Suffolk. The town occupies the most easterly point of the country and so is positioned as one of its extremities. This body of work provides a subtle acknowledgement of industries won and lost over time, giving a glimpse into Lowestoft’s tumultuous past and tentative future. It is a town, like many in the UK, forced to live through governmental decisions made at a distance, which directly impact upon the communities that live and work there. While our government negotiates for our exit from the European Union, potentially using our fishing waters as the bargaining tool, this is more prominent now than ever before in this town.
COASTAL DWELLINGS AND HUTS
This work in progress is an exploration of the ways in which we individualise spaces we occupy in a leisurely capacity. All along our coastlines are beach dwellings and huts, which all seem similar in form and function until they are documented and placed alongside each other. Only at this point does it become evident just how unique they are in their individualisation. The people who occupy these dwellings at times of escapism and leisure seek to create a sanctuary aside from their home which offers a sense of comfort and familiarity, a home away from home. The work looks to explore the relationship we have to home, and how we behave when at leisure and how these two interplay. The absence of direct portraiture is intentional here, enabling the characteristics of the dwellings themselves to give us enough to build these portraits ourselves within our own imagination, informed directly by the detail offered in the images.
Thetford Forest in Norfolk is a man-made forest and is the largest of its kind in the UK. The number of trees throughout the country suffered significantly during the First World War and Thetford Forest was created in order to provide a reserve of wood as a result. The initial purchase of land occurred throughout the 1920's and 1930's and consists of approximately 80% of its current entirety. Once the trees reach 20ft in height, their side shoots are removed through a process known as Brashing up to 6ft from the base. This is to enable easy access and to prevent fire risk and spread. With the forest having been planted by hand, the trees occupy the land in a manipulated manner. Despite this, nature intervenes to create her own order within our own attempt of control.