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Matinee: 'Seaside: Photographed' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

3 August 2019

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 303rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Seaside: Photographed.

It's summer in this part of the world and around here summer means it's time to hit the beach. It's always time to hit the beach around here, frankly. But in summer, there's more people around.

And people are what make any ordinary beach amusing. The sand is just another stage, after all.

That's the theory behind a Turner Contemporary exhibit in Margate, England, in fact. Seaside: Photographed "examines the relationship between photographers, photography and the British seaside from the 1850s to the present."

It's the Turner's first ever photography exhibit and it includes some luminaries like Jane Bown, Henri Cartier Bresson, Vanley Burke, Anna Fox, Susan Hiller, Paul Nash, Martin Parr and Ingrid Pollard.

But the curators also put out the call for seaside snapshots. You'll see a few in this clip. They'll make you smile. Promise.

You'll also see some of the more sedate if equally amusing work of Grace Lau, who appears in person in the video. Her Portraits in a Chinese Studio, a few of which are shown here, were taken in the summer of 2005 at Hastings seafront.

Over six weeks she took 400 photographs, providing her models with a free digital print in return. They are all a sort of reverse National Geographic for Lau, the exotic Chinese photographer shooting the English vacationers. It's as if the lions started posing the photographers.

The show was curated by Karen Sheperdson and Val Williams, both of whom appear in the video. And it runs all summer before going on tour to John Hansard Gallery, Grundy Art Galler and Newlyn Art Gallery and the Exchange in the U.K. Presumably in the fall and winter (shudder the thought).

We'd tell you more but the ocean is waving at us and we have to go.

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