Thursday, 22 May 2008

Canvey Island

I'm currently reading Downriver by Iain Sinclair. He writes beautifully but also somewhat negative about places along the estuary, '...Canvey Island: a gulag of sinking caravans, overlooked by decommissioned storage tanks.' Yet I sense great passion in his writing. Celebrate might be to strong a word but I want to acknowledge these places for what they are, both good and bad. I'm very concerned about representation.... Jackie, a lady I photographed together with her daughter Morgan and friend Kelsey, was very upset about a recent picture in a tabloid of a haggard lady which were suppose to represent the average Canvenite. 'She looked like something out of 'Shameless''(Channel 4 TV-series of a group of people on an estate up to no good), she said. I feel that this is what many journalists and photographers do far to often - reinforce stereotypes without even really looking for anything different.
I guess I'm looking for a kind of beauty in places that often feel forgotten and Sheepey and Canvey inspires me greatly, they are not perfect, streamlined or boring. There is no Starbuck's or sameness in sight, there is room for exploration and imagination. Character and sense of place is on the menu, I feel great love and affection. At the same time I wonder for how long this will last? Places are constantly evolving and changing. In the 1930's Canvey was a thriving holiday resort for Londoners, then fell in to decline much due to cheap travel abroad and easy access to places further a field and now when more and more Londoners are forced to move out of the city due to the high cost of living they might just settle in places like Canvey.

3 comments:

paul lowe said...

hi ana

dont forget that the opening of joseph conrad's 'heart of darkness' is set in the thames estuary and is very dramatic- you think you are in africa until you realise that he is talking about england....

Anna said...

thanks for this,...so it is in the Heart of Darkness, I was pretty much searching through all his other books, since I knew he did write about the estuary, would never have guessed...

antrim said...

that is very intesesting paul...never heard that...