A look inside the Great British Seaside
The Great British Seaside, the National Maritime Museum's major new photography exhibition, brings you 102 photos from leading British photographers. Take a sneak peak at the exhibition with some of our favourite photos.
The Great British Seaside: Photography From The 1960s To The Present runs from March 23 to September 30 at the National Maritime Museum. Buy tickets
One of Britain’s most popular photographers, Martin Parr (b. 1952) was inspired to pick up a camera at a young age by his grandfather, a keen amateur photographer.
In the summer of 1983 Parr began work on The Last Resort (1986), a three-year project capturing leisure in the working-class seaside resort of New Brighton, the beginning of a career capturing the idiosyncrasies of Britain’s seaside
‘The seaside has to be one of the most fascinating places for people-watching. It is a place where we relax and lose our inhibitions, and that’s when true personalities come on display.’
– Martin Parr
'For me the seaside is like a laboratory. Every time I have a new idea or want to try something different I tend to first experiment with it at the beach.
– Martin Parr
Brighton-based photographer Simon Roberts studied Human Geography at the University of Sheffield which has influenced much of his work.
'I love Simon’s approach – he took the basic Andreas Gursky idea and applied it very cunningly to British leisure pursuits.' - Martin Parr
Simon's work is characterised by large-scale images that explore the collective relationship between people and place and the reflection of social, political and cultural change in the landscape.
‘I see the British seaside as a series of landscapes through which we can trace part of our national history.’
– Simon Roberts
‘My aim is to communicate something of the spirit and the mentality of the English, their habits and their way of life, the ironies that exist in the way they do things …’
– Tony Ray-Jones
Tony Ray-Jones (1941–72) worked as a freelance photographer after graduation from Yale University, Ray-Jones returned to Britain in 1966 and decided on a project to visually document the English at leisure.
For two years he travelled around the country in a campervan capturing, in his words, ‘the sadness and the humour in a gentle madness that prevails in a people.’
David Hurn (b. 1934) is a self-taught photographer who began his career in 1955 working as an assistant at the Reflex photo agency in London.
His work is diverse and includes raw photo-essays, fashion photography and iconic production stills from films such as From Russia with Love (1963) and Barbarella (1968) as well as the seaside photography featured in the exhibition
‘The seaside is a place for uninhibited fun. It is cheap and very democratic, full of laughter, tenderness, ridiculousness but basically a way of having a good time.’
– David Hurn
David Hurn’s great love has always been the photography of ordinary people and everyday lives.
The Great British Seaside: Photography From The 1960s To The Present runs from March 23 to September 30 at National Maritime Museum. Buy tickets