Photographer and filmaker Will Scott has published the photography book, “Seaside Shelters”, which takes a look at – as the title of the book implies – seaside shelters. Scott traveled to a variety of seaside towns throughout the UK to complete this book, including Blackpool, Margate, the Isle of Wight, Frinton-on-Sea, Southsea, Colwyn Bay, Weymouth, Exmouth and more.
Although London/Edinburgh-based Scott has many notable projects under his belt, such as “The Architecture of the Underground” and “Kings Cross Sqaure”, this marks his first published book, which also has an accompanying exhibition. We got to ask Scott what differentiated this project from others he had worked on.
“This is really the first personal project I have shot through to completion. The other projects are still ongoing (or going nowhere in some cases), but also this one seems to have been very popular with people, which was quite unexpected. I think the nostalgia aspect can’t be overlooked – most people have some sort of affinity with a seaside town, where they holidayed or visited, and have happy memories. I also think the shelters are one of those things that you see all of the time but never really think about much, and I’m definitely drawn to subjects like that.”
“Most people have some sort of affinity with a seaside town, where they holidayed or visited, and have happy memories.”
For “Seaside Shelters”, Scott mainly used his Canon 5DS camera with a 24mm TS-E and made it a point to capture the shelter in its natural state, with or without people and whether or not the British weather was playing nicely or not.
“I made a decision at the beginning that I wasn’t going to wait for perfect conditions to shoot each shelter – i.e. sunlight in the right place, nice skies,” Scott shared. “I basically decided I was going to visit a certain place and then went there regardless of the weather forecast.”
Scott continued, “This was a little bit like how I remember going on holiday to the coast as a child – we pretty much went regardless of the weather. It also wouldn’t be realistic to portray constant sun and blue skies, as obviously bad weather is the main reason these structures exist.”
This point made by Scott drives home one of the reasons we are so captivated by his images – they are realistic and evoke memories of days spent at the beach with the rain clouds coming, even if it was not at that particular beach he depicted in his image.
We were surprised not many people were captured in these images. Maybe we have become jaded by spending so much time in New York City where we cannot escape people, although, Scott did highlight the fact to us how coastal towns are not the same as they were and have changed over the past few decades with many of them becoming run down. This applies to the seaside shelters, as Scott was able to capture their reality – whether they were vacant or with people still utilizing them.
“I just shot them [the shelters] how I found them. I was generally shooting during the week and not during summer holidays, so there were less people about than there could have been. I always prefer having some sort of human presence in my work, as it gives scale and life, but [in this case] it’s also interesting to see the shelters [still] being used.”
“I made a decision at the beginning that I wasn’t going to wait for perfect conditions to shoot each shelter.”
Scott does capture a moment in these photos. A moment we do believe is different than we have seen before. Although these shelters are not new to photographers, Scott does bring a different perspective.
“There is a long history of photographers choosing these places as their subjects, so I was wary of going back over ground that had been covered before,” Scott noted. “But, I think my work is pretty different and obviously very focused on this one particular aspect.”
Scott has some other projects in the pipeline, and he teased us with the idea that one project may include film photography. It seems we will need to wait and see, and we are looking forward to what is coming up next.
You can view the “Seaside Shelters” exhibit at the HENI Gallery in London until 19 August 2018, and you can purchase Scott’s book at henipublishing.com.