A commission by A Clifftop Wander - Margate Coastal Park celebration 2016 with the support of Arts Council England and Kent County Council to take the long running series 'A Welcome Rest' on the road. Within the beautiful Palm Bay shelter in Clifftonville, passing dogs and their companions were photographed.
The relationship and bond between dog/human becomes quickly evident. The dogs always take the portrait seriously, always look to camera and hold the gaze.
This series repeatedly challenges (mis) perceptions: a vulnerable man embracing his large, seemingly fiercesome dog telling 'he's a rescue dog - he rescued me'; a tiny, trembling chihuahua jumps off the bench and squares up to a passing Staffie...
These are knowingly modest portraits - but portraits which arguably reward scrutiny, showing as they do how lives are enhance and conversations initiated through our dog ownership.
close to home: on the jetty
Broadstairs Jetty is where I often work, a 10 minute stroll along the beach and I am there. It is here I spend much – perhaps too much time - kicking about. Anyone who calls at home to find me absent – heads down to the jetty and more often than not I'm there making pictures - it’s all a long term (lifetime) project.
I capture visitors as they move from the prosaic jetty car park to the beach - often stressed from the drive and laden with seaside paraphernalia - the images show the visitor looking beyond me to the beach - looking forward to the day ahead.
The welcome rest also series began here. The simple bench which leans against the clinker-built harbourmasters office has carved beneath and painted white 'A WELCOME REST' - once only harbourmen could use this, but in this less deferential age all (including dogs) make use of this modest spot.
close to home: between the tides
along the thanet coast is the extraordinary Walpole Bay tidal pool. Some 4 acres in size it provides free space for people to gather, to play, to swim, to forage and to fish.
It is here that I encounter sea swimmers making use of the water throughout the year. Comfortable in their own skins and living in the moment.
In 2017 this pool, so vital to many of the coastal communities of Thanet, is 80 years old. A democratic gathering space at the water's edge.
Keeping it local - Julian is the last whelkman to be working off the small harbour at Broadstairs. Once he has harvested the whelks from the sea, Julian returns to the jetty. He boils, shells and then takes the whelks 1/2 mile inland to the local fishmongers.
100 COUPLES: are couples I photograph each year. There is a discipline to this work and a shared aesthetic. The film used (instant), the positioning of the couples and the camera set up remains consistent. The original 200 self-selecting participants decrease each year - now in its 7th year only 30 people remain, signifying partner change, loss and boredom. Each year the final works have been collated into a montage of 100 images (2011) and 54 images (2012) 38 images (2013) 36 images (2014) 24 images (2015) 18 images (2016). Who knows how many will come and find me in 2017...
LIGHT: between 2010-2015 I ran a studio space and gallery right on the jetty. It was known as The Old Lookout' and friends on warm sunny days would head down to catch up and gather. On arrival they would often hesitate in the doorway, enjoying being in the air and yet feeling the need to engage with me. The sunlight was frequently so bright I could see nothing but their silhouette. Instant film captures my experience.