Yesterday, I went to Margate in Kent, with photography chums, Vicky Lamburn, Sonia Hunt, André Jolley and Barry Falk. In England it was the end of May Spring Bank Holiday Sunday; the middle day of a long weekend. Coming from the south coast near Brighton, which is always a popular day trip venue for Londeners, we were expecting queues of traffic and difficulty parking. We got neither; an easy drive in and an almost empty car park. It was mid-day, the sky was cloudless and the sandy beach was almost empty.
Margate is typical of many English seaside towns. Past their heyday and no longer able to compete with warmer, cheaper foreign destinations, they have become run down and often deprived. In an attempt to reverse the decline, some of these once popular tourist destinations have been targeted with various regeneration projects. Margate is one of these. In April 2011, the Turner Contemporary was opened. A striking, stark building housing contemporary art it bookends the seafront with the contrasting, derelict Dreamland site. Dreamland was once a vibrant amusement park, a magnet for the many tourists visiting the town.
As a group of photographers we all saw the town in contrasting ways, bringing our own visual interpretations of the day. As I was processing my images today, I was taken by colour,; blue sky, yellow sand, colourful clothing. However, they left me uninspired. I decided, counter-intuitively, to convert some to black and white. Immediately the simple lines and graphic elements came to life for me. I hope this helps to tell a better story of my visit.
After five hours walking the seafront and streets of Margate we moved on. A short drive round the coast of Broadstairs. Evening light, beach huts, bijou shops and restaurants, the contrast to Margate couldn’t have been greater.
NB the video quality of this slideshow is quite low, however, I will publish the images individually in a gallery on this website.