I find photographing people difficult; it goes against my natural inclination, yet i have come to appreciate that it is my initial discomfort in doing so which at once challenges and rewards me as a photographer.
My work could be described loosely as an exploration of relationships; between people and their environment and also my relationship as observer/participant with both.
I have a particular interest in coastal towns, probably because i have lived in or near them for most of my life. They are places of such extreme contrast and contradiction; during the summer months they buzz with tourists whose presence is both an economic lifeline for locals and the object of their derision. In the winter however, when sunshine and tourists are scarce the seaside may become something altogether different; a place of intense atmosphere, characterized by wind and rain, seediness and desolation,and crime borne out of drug and alcohol abuse, boredom and lack of opportunities. It is these negative aspects that I find interesting as they are so at odds with the popular images of seaside Britain which is promoted in holiday brochures and on postcards. During their yearly cycle seaside places are as changeable as the sea itself, yet in the long term they can be stagnant places which reflect conservative attitudes and seem wary of change.
I graduated from Falmouth College of Arts (now University College Falmouth) in 2006, gaining a BA hons in Photography. My final year project 'The Kids are Alright' was made during repeated visits to a housing estate in a Somerset seaside resort. It explores the social lives of young people growing up in an essentially urban environment, yet one which is situated less than a mile from the beaches which tourists flock to, and in doing so bringing money to the local economy which rarely seems to find its way to such 'problem' areas. The area displays the signs of poverty evident in many coastal resorts, yet possesses a positive sense of community not found in other more affluent areas of the town. For myself, this raises an interesting point concerning subjective concepts of wealth and well-being.
My most significant photographic influences are Tom Wood and
Chris Killip, but many other works have inspired me including
Donovan Wylie's 'Losing Ground' and Robert Frank's 'The Americans'.
A selection of Den's images were exhibited as part of the Free Range 2006 exhibition in London and in Falmouth as part of the 'Negative/Positive' exhibition. He lives in Exeter, Devon and continues to pursue long-term photographic projects.
mob: 07765 365713