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A Coast Of Two Stories by Charlotte Bellamy
3rd November 2022
As a photographic artist, I love exploring new locations. In May, this year I returned to a childhood holiday venue–the North Norfolk coast. I live in the middle of Holland and the sea is a long way for me, so the chance to explore this stretch of coastline with a group was a real treat.
In the last few years, most of my work has been very creative, using Intentional CameraMovement (ICM) and multiple exposures in my work. These skills were built on a sound knowledge of landscape photography, and sometimes a location calls for me to dip into both the creative and more traditional genres of landscape photography.
When I arrive at a location, the urge to get my camera out of its bag is great, but these days, I try and ground myself for a little while, taking in not only the sights, but also the sounds, what I am feeling physically and mentally. Taking this time guides me in the images I will create and sets me up to understand what I want my images to portray to the viewer, and if I will react with ICM or something different.
Norfolk is a land of big skies and endless beaches. Depending on when you arrive, the sea will be travelling either in or out. The first image–the colour ICM was made after noticing these wooden posts sticking out of the sand. When I arrived, the sea was much further out, so I sat, and I waited. I knew I wanted to capture the incoming tide in the foreground channel when it started to cover the foreground posts. I also realised that everything in view was soft, the waves crashing was doing so softly, and the posts were old and broken with soft edges. Thus, I decided to experiment with ICM to bring a creative painterly feel to the image. Working a little in post processing I cropped the image to accentuate the balances between fore and mid ground and the sky. I also encouraged a little more contrast between the blue of the water and sky and the yellow of the sand. The result is a dreamy and gentle depiction of this beach.
The second photo is in complete contrast. It was made a day or so later–the sky was bright and blue with amazing cloud formations; the wind was whipping the sand round my ankles on the beach. So, when I climbed to the top of the dunes and was rewarded with this expansive view, I knew I wanted to depict the harsh open climate and wildness of this coastline. It just happened that one solitary individual was walking the shoreline, which I thought added a sense of scale and even more sense of wild and emptiness. The black and white post production accentuates the contrasting textures and tones throughout the image.
My take away message to you from these images is to be open to possibilities when arriving to photograph. Take the time to feel your location as well as see it, and don’t be scared to experiment with whatever camera technique it is that allows you to bring your experience to life.