Inside this issue
“Shaped by the Sea” Book Review
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
We have already covered a previous project of Theo’s with “Autumn Leaves” and we were very pleased to hear that he was taking on a more substantial project that covered multiple countries including the coast of Scotland. The project can be summarised as covering the tidal zone of Europe’s Western coastline. Theo humbly says “It was never my intention to cover Europe’s entire Atlantic coast” as if this was perhaps a passing thought, discarded at the last minute. What he did do was to find a judicious sampling of fifty beaches across nine countries including the Faroe Islands, Scotland, Norway, Iceland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Portugal, Spain and France. The goal was to show the diversity of this transition zone and portray some of the dynamism everyone can experience when visiting the Atlantic coastline.
Theo gave a fantastic talk about the project during our Meeting of Minds conference in 2018 and it was sometime later that I realised I hadn’t bought a copy of the associated book (I must have had something else distracting me!). I have since bought one and have been enjoying sampling from it from time to time over the last few months.
I’ll skip to the chase on the recommendation as I can heartily recommend purchasing it and the book itself is very well printed and hardbound (which I’ll come to in a moment). The book needs little written narrative to explain itself and is a great case study in how to create a body of work that walks the line between a documentary approach and an interpretation. Each photograph is an aesthetic work by itself but the accumulation of many visual fragments adds up to a very personal take by Theo.
And it is the closer details that make the book special to me. Many people would make the main part of the project about the bigger views and include smaller details as asides. Theo’s work makes these smaller fragments the main story and uses larger views to place them in context.
Distilling a project like this into a final ‘product’ sometimes benefits from using an external editor and designer and Theo was very lucky to have a very talented colleague to help with this, Sandra Bartocha. As a photographer herself (and a very good one) and with her own experience of book and magazine publishing, Sandra was able to create an eye catching, professional design and I’m presuming she also helped with the sequencing which is excellent (some inspired facing images and a good sense of cohesion across the chapters).
If you want to support Theo, you can buy "Shaped by the Sea" directly from his website (click here) or if that's not possible you can get it from 'all good book shops' (or horrible ones if you really want to)
I’ve picked a few of my favourite photos to demonstrate these different aspects.