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Professor of Photography Val Williams curates major new ‘Seaside’ show for Turner Contemporary

A family, wearing sunglasses, sit on a beach and drink tea.
A family, wearing sunglasses, sit on a beach and drink tea.
A family, wearing sunglasses, sit on a beach and drink tea.
Written by
Maha Khan
Published date
21 May 2019

London College of Communication’s Professor of the History and Culture of Photography, Val Williams, has co-curated a major new exhibition for Turner Contemporary – examining the relationship between photographers, photography and the British seaside.

Featuring works from the likes of Jane Bown, Henri Cartier Bresson, Vanley Burke, Anna Fox, Susan Hiller, Paul Nash, Martin Parr, and Ingrid Pollard, ‘Seaside: Photographed’ has gained glowing reviews from The Financial Times and The Guardian.

Val Williams is Professor of the History and Culture of Photography, and formerly the Director of the Photography and the Archive Research Centre at London College of Communication. She is a writer and curator, well-known for being an authority on British photography.

Williams has co-curated the exhibition – which will visit John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, and Newlyn Art Gallery in Cornwall in 2020 – with Karen Shepherdson, who is Director of the South East Archive of Seaside Photography.

Gallery

In addition, Williams and Shepherdson have released a book to accompany the exhibition – ‘Seaside: Photographed’ is published by Thames & Hudson and is available now.

The Financial Times highly commends the show for its celebration of coastal resorts as “rich pickings for image-makers” from Henry Iddon’s Ocean Hotel in Blackpool to amateur photographer Pat Gwynne’s depictions of the unpredictability of the beach.

The Guardian’s Observer has rated the exhibition five stars, describing it as a “rush of revelation” extolling the nostalgic mysticism of the collection and its juxtaposition between the stiffness of Victorian studio portraits to the liberation of Brits enjoying a day out in the sun and sand.

Seaside: Photographed runs from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 8 September 2019 at Turner Contemporary in Margate, Kent. The show will then travel to John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, and Newlyn Art Gallery in Cornwall in 2020.

Words by Maha Khan, BA (Hons) Journalism student.

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