This summer (August 2013) I was taken on my first trip to Whitstable, on the Kentish coast, a place which inspired me photographically and which I keen to lean more about. The picturesque town dates back to before the writing of the Domesday Book and is famous for it’s Oysters, collected in the area since at least Roman times. It also has thriving artistic and creative community.
As is often the case, I was also attracted to the less picturesque or ‘natural’ elements; the underbelly that keeps the town alive. This side of the town tends to be over-looked in most photographic representations of Whitstable but to me are a fundamental part of what ‘makes’ Whitstable and are visually interesting, standing in contrast to the sea and pretty town.
The freshly caught shellfish, available throughout the year at an array of seafood restaurants and pubs are de-shelled with whirring equipment that seems to be continuously o the go, pictured below in red, with seagulls flying around.
Constructed in 1831, the harbour at Whitstable was the first in the world to be served by a railway. The railway is no longer there but it remains a busy working harbour, with shipping, fishing, wind farm maintenance and Brett Aggregates, a supplier of aggregates and asphalt for the construction industry in Kent, which provides long-term employment for local people.
Below is the beginning of my exploration into this interesting town, from sea to the industry.
Wondering around it is clear why many artists work there, with the beautiful landscape and light, but still I am always interested to think about the places that artists are drawn to, where and why they find inspiration. As well as continuing to explore Whitstable in all in forms, I would be keen to go look at the lives of the artists and their creative connection to Whitstable and the sea. I am inspired by this interesting portrait project by Neil Sloman, who documents the creative live of Whitstable through photographs of artists in their studios.