It’s always a treat when I can be involved in a body of work over a long period of time, seeing its progression and printing the resulting exhibition.
I’ve worked with Damien Wootten for many years now — nine, in fact. During that time, he’s visited several North East locations repeatedly for the last eight years to form the series, Coastal Retreats.
Mainly working in and around Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Damien’s immersion in the area really shines through.
As he describes:
“At times everyone needs somewhere to retreat to, and I’m sure — like many — my destination seems to be the coast, and being a photographer it seems inevitable that I take my camera with me. I’m very familiar with the North East coast of England and parts of it are deserted, wild and beautiful — but it is the more ordinary, everyday and less attractive areas that interest me more photographically.”
“I have never questioned too deeply why I have chosen these locations to work in and accepted it as an impulse and a need. Hopefully these images have something more to give than just to show the surface of things and offer something worthwhile and contemplative to say about our place within our landscape. These coastal areas seem to symbolise that – where the man-made reaches the edge of things. This is where the natural environment takes over, restraining human encroachment.”
I love the Northernness of ‘Coastal Retreats’, a feeling that I’m sure prevails as a result of Damien living in the area along with his seemingly unconditional persistence!
Anyone who lives in the wild and woolly North East will know exactly what it feels like to stand in many of the scenes Damien’s captured, not least a biting one such as this:
Printing this series has been a true pleasure — I hope all those who manage to see the show between 12th October and 2nd February at the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland enjoy it as much as I have.
The photographs are all 40x40cm Archival Pigment Prints on 60x60cm Museo Silver Rag 300gsm using HP Vivera Pigment Ink.