This past year I have been focusing a lot on personal projects. My latest art series to be published is ‘The Sea, The Sea …’ in which I’ve been exploring the themes of permanence and impermanence, beauty and bleakness and the way light plays and impacts mood and scene.
I love my work as a London documentary family photographer and client work is never the same one family to the next, because families are of course unique. The way they interact, the way they play, the way they bicker, the way they love – different every time I do a family documentary session. But there is also much that binds them together in a shared experience of parenting and family life. In this way families are much like the sea – bound by a shared sense of being a unit, yet different depending on the day, the mood, the setting.
I have always been drawn to the sea. I realise I sound a little like Moana when I say that but I’m not about to sail off on a quest to deliver the heart of some magical mythical being becoming a master wayfarer in the process! But I do love to be near the sea. Something about the colours, the sounds of the crashing waves and the simple vastness of an uninterrupted horizon is soothing or therapeutic. When I head home to Northumberland there is always a visit to a – probably cold and bleak – sweeping beach with sandwiches and a flask of coffee. I regularly escape London to the south coast for a ‘fix’ of sea. When organising family holidays 9 times out of 10 I’ll be looking for somewhere near the sea – Cornwall is a firm favourite. I didn’t learn to swim until I was about 10 or 11 and when I did it was buoyed along on the waves of a family holiday. And I could photograph the sea and the ever changing colours and seascape seemingly for ever. And I’m an all weathers kind of beach goer – whether the simmering heat of summer where the light dances on the water in a mirage and invites you into its cool embrace, or the bleak greys and crashing waves of winter where the sea reminds you of its power and nature.
At our wedding my husband and I has a reading from A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The extract focuses on how relationships are like the sea in their ebb and flow and this is like a dance. I think this is what draws me to the sea – it’s permanence and yet continuously changing and never the same; its ebb and flow; its simply being. I could photograph the sea and it’s ever changing shifting patterns and light dancing on the waves forever.
“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.”
The Sea, The Sea … explores the permanence and impermanence of the sea, our shores, and our lives.