After several days of sunny weather, the light is flat but bright. The tides are slack, meaning that natural decay and degeneration of plants and animals are littered across the beach. The seaweed languishing in those pockets of the beach where the tides do not reach is dried out and has lost its vibrancy of colour, small crabs are tossed aside and abandoned, unable to reach the sea. The roosting birds such as Greylag Geese have also left their calling cards. And as I walk close to a very small Island in the bay, the smell of sulphur is over-powering – the result of the drying out of the peat bogs without their daily flush of sea water. My footprints of the last few days are clearly visible.
The movement of the water is also uninspiring. The tide has just turned and is returning to shore but has little enthusiasm, energy, or vigour in its endeavour. The waves are lack lustre affairs and few and far between. The seaweed however glistens on the margins of the tide.
Nonetheless, I start with some shots of the movement of the water and as I work the slightest glimmer of sunshine emerges from a largely cloudy sky.
I move on to photographing the dynamic relationship of the sea, seaweed and land and try to capture the momentary fusion of these objects. The water swirls, the plants are moved around and then settle as the wave continues its journey beyond. The colours are vibrant and glisten under the water. I use intentional camera movement to emphasise the direction and dynamic.
I decide to sit on a rock and observe for a while. I begin writing in my journal – something I have not done recently as the wonders of technology have instead allowed me to record thoughts on my phone. While this practice is less intrusive, I enjoy re-engaging with writing and the sense of calm it provides. I reflect on the fact that having embarked on a new project that I should feel excited, but I feel misplaced, lost and without purpose. It takes a long time for me to acquaint myself with a potential new dwelling place, and even though I know the beach and its environs well, it feels somehow alien when I walk with a different purpose, with my camera. I feel that I am flailing around and am unsettled. I finish my practice by taking some shots of the rocks and inhabitants on the edge of the sea.
But, what of the images. I am not sure. I have been trying to capture the turbulence when land and sea collide and the resultant dynamics of things that lie in its path. I believe these images certainly give a sense of that but I need to spend more time finding my place in this landscape.
I intend to use the power of music on my next walk on the beach to encourage the activation of my senses, attenuate my conscious voice and encourage a feeling of belonging.