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  • Down to the Beach. Photographer: Raymond C Lawson. Courtesy of Nicholas Cordes, with kind permission of the Lawson family
  • Dafydd Jones, Butlins, Minehead Somerset. Summer 1979
Sat 25 May - Sun 8 Sep 2019

This major exhibition will examine the relationship between photographers, photography and the British seaside from the 1850s to the present. It is Turner Contemporary’s first ever photography exhibition.

As well as featuring the work of eminent photographers including Jane Bown, Henri Cartier Bresson, Vanley Burke, Anna Fox, Susan Hiller, Paul Nash, Martin Parr, and Ingrid Pollard, the curators have included rich and often unknown work from across photography’s history, including Raymond Lawson’s remarkable chronicle of family life in Whitstable.

Enzo Ragazzini captures the anarchy of the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, while Stuart Griffiths makes a bleak narrative of the 1990 rave scene in Brighton. Daniel Meadows, Barry Lewis and Dafydd Jones all photographed at Butlins in the 1970s and Grace Robertson records the raucous goings-on of a women’s’ day out to the coast in the 1950s.   Composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears, partners in music and in life, created a haven by the sea that they preserved in photographs.

Images of hotel life, the beach, the holiday camp, dressing up and dressing down, wild waves and coastlines all combine to create a rich picture of the British seaside.

In response to Seaside: Photographed, artists Bethan Peters and Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth have been commissioned to create a new artwork inspired by local residents. In Spring 2019, they will deliver workshops to families in collaboration with Thanet Early Years Project exploring the seaside through play, movement and digital media. They will create a work based on the ideas generated that will be available for the public to see in Summer 2019.

Curated by Val Williams and Karen Shepherdson, Seaside: Photographed is a touring exhibition organised by Turner Contemporary. The exhibition will take place at Turner Contemporary in summer 2019, touring to three other UK venues in 2020, each with their own unique connection to the seaside; John Hansard Gallery, Grundy Art Gallery, and Newlyn Art Gallery and the Exchange. With support from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.

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