Friday, 31 October 2008


I'm heading up to Norfolk for a few days to have a look around areas affected by coastal erosion. I'm staying in Happisburgh, in a house that is very near the cliff edge which should make for an interesting experience. It looks like the weather should be grey with drizzly rain which suits my needs. I'm after some really bleak landscapes. I spend a lot of time on Google Earth looking at the coast line, so I have an idea about what to expect but it stands to see if the landscapes will be as dramatic as I imagine.

Thursday, 30 October 2008


I can't believe what a fantastic line up Vision has this year. Actually it is so many good speakers that it will be impossible to see them all because some talks are on at the same time. What a dilemma!! Just found out that Stuart Franklin will show his work from the book Footprint. I have just recently become familiar with this work through my research for the borders project. His work is about the environmental changes that Europe is facing. Looks really interesting but it seems that this talk will be on at the at the same time as Simon Robert's though, I can only hope that the schedule will change for the better. Simon Roberts and Simon Norfolk is a must, their work is truly inspirational. Jacob Aue Sobol and Sam Faulkner should be really good to see too. I'm so looking forward to this!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Border stories

Here are some photo stories that I really like that are about borders:

East of a new Eden Yann Mingard and Alban Kakulya

People of Derry - Philippe Grollier

Abkhazia (Imagined States) - Eric Baudelaire

Trading over the Borderline - Guy Martin

The Middle Distance - Olivia Arthur

A lot of Paul Seawright's work deals with borders and the periphery.

Sacrificial Coast

I guess I originally thought that I would go back to Kaliningrad for my Borders story, being and enclave and cut off from the rest of Russia, border issues are a constant issue there. But I feel that I need a story I can revisit regularly and therefore it needs to be in Britain for the moment.

Land and people's relationship to the land interests me and is a theme that I keep returning to.
I came a cross an recently published book Vanishing landscapes which deals with the fact that landscapes will soon no longer exist the way we know them. John Bergers writing appears and work by photographers such as Edward Burtynsky , Joel Sternfield, and Robert Adams are featured.Photographer An - My Le has written some very thought provoking words in this book:

'While landmasses are carved up into jigsaw puzzles of nations, territories, and green zones, oceans define borders but defy politics. Against the backdrop of an ocean, any enterprise, military, commercial or scientific, appears fragile and barley tolerated.'

I really like this: 'oceans define borders but defy politics' This makes me think about Britain's eroding coastline. Certain parts of the coast especially in Norfolk is eroding faster than ever before. There are communities such as Happisburgh, Walcott, Mundesley that in the not so distant future might be completely swallowed up by the sea and wiped of the map. The U.K government says it is to costly to protect the whole of the coastline. 'Managed retreat' is the term scientists has given this approach, meaning that governments around the world are making decisions about what it can afford to save and what has to be sacrificed. A big part of the Norfolk coast seem to be out of luck, the sea defences are considered unsustainable and new ones will not be built. This mean that many people stand to loose their homes to the sea, farmers will loose their livelihood, historic sites and nature reserves will disappear. Unlike in countries like The Netherlands where compensation is given for loss of land to erosion, in the U.K there is no compensation. The effect the sea has on the land has become a political issue. How to decide what is protected and what is to be sacrificed? And there is talk of what could be Britain's first climate change refugees.
I want to visit these areas, photograph the landscapes and the people who belong to these places, not just Norfolk, though I think this might be a very good starting point but also other areas. At this stage I am quite open minded about what will be included. I could just focus on what I want to call 'Sacrificial Coast' or it could be extended to look at what is done to preserve and defend ourselves from the sea.
I would like to use statistics with these images and get quotes from people. My hope is that I can make some good connection with people living in these areas. In terms of making it in to a multimedia presentation I could perhaps use voice over from people talking about the situation or perhaps record the sound of the sea hitting the cliffs and use it as 'background music'. But right know I really need to delve deeper in to the research and check some places out.
Some very useful articles:

Waves of destruction The Guardian April 17 2008

Living on the edge The Guardian October 9 2006

As the climate changes, bits of England's coast crumble International Herald Tribune May 4 2007

Should we abandon Britain's crumbling coast? The Guardian August 18 2008

Living on the edge: The owners whose homes are going over a cliff Daily Mail 12 July 2008

Players at England's oldest golf course told to let it crumble into the sea The Guardian May 20 2008

Erosion plea from sea victims BBC News player

Wale's coastal erosion threat BBC News player

CCAG Coastal Concern Action Group