Professor Val Williams, Dr Karen Shepherdson
Since the beginnings of the medium, photographers have been fascinated by the shoreline and seaside cultures. Seaside: Photographed offers a record of how both British and international image-makers have responded to the UK’s coastal communities since 1850 and how the art of photography has both shaped and exposed the multiple layers of the seaside resort.
From the roaring waves of the 19th century through the heyday of the classic seaside resort in the 1950s and 60s, and the critical reportage of the 1980s and 1990s, to the more intimate work of the last ten years, many photographers have worked at the British seaside, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Miller, Martin Parr and Anna Fox. The end-of-the-pier show, beauty competitions, light entertainment, the seaside boarding house, the holiday camp, combined to give British seaside resorts the brash and colourful image that is now enshrined in British national mythology. Seaside: Photographed shows not only some of the most spectacular and incisive photographic work from the 1850s to the present, but provides a place of shared connection, of collective memory and a space where memories and perceptions are challenged.