Here’s another in my series of photographs featuring the harbour wall at Cullercoats, this time from Christmas Day, 2017.
I have already shared another image of the wall this same day, taken around 10 minutes earlier and without the lovely magenta hues that began to show in the sky for this image. This is probably the day that kicked off my interest in returning again and again to the same—on the face of it drab—wall.
As the sky caught just after sunset, there was also a man standing on the end of the wall looking out to sea, adding an extra point of interest to go with the colour in the sky. I took the below photo and then started moving back over to get a similar angle to the first photo I’d taken of the wall: head-on.
In part, I already had a feeling I wanted to repeat the original composition and in part, I think I wanted to remove the ship on the horizon from the background. Looking back now, the above composition cropped to panoramic is one I rather like: the silhouetted figure looking out to see and maybe at the ship I wanted rid of.
By the time I made it back to my original position, the man began to walk back off the wall and so I very quickly took a burst of 4 images and it’s this first one that worked best. A slightly wider view than the first, but with the colour in the sky and the motion of the figure on the wall I think it works nicely.
While I haven’t (and most certainly hadn’t at this point) set any particularly strict criteria for my series of photos documenting this wall, the idea did stem from the abstract simplicity of the dead-on geometry and so the man walking off to the right gets top billing for this post.
At the same time, the more cinematic panorama with more depth thanks to the slight angle on the wall I think conveys more emotion.
As I photograph the wall more, building up to eventually doing something to properly collect the images together like a book, I’ll need to decide where to place the emphasis—minimalist repetition, or slightly more documentary—and therefore how I want to tell the story of this one wall.
I know I’ll keep taking the dead-on angle, as it’s a composition that simply pleases me. Seeing the same composition in changing conditions is something I’m very keen to explore. I also know I’ll be taking plenty of other photos in and around the bay, building a broader collection of images either to mix in or as companion piece to the more conceptual series.
To end, here’s a final, wider shot of the bay, also down on the beach that same Christmas day.