The Seaside

Photo of Margate Beach

A couple of weeks ago we took a family day trip to Margate. I hadn’t been to the seaside proper for a few years and we left in the morning with no real plans of what we wanted to do on our day out. This was the biggest mistake of the day. Having no plans as three adults, left us at the mercy of sitting on the beach for an extended period of time. Not my idea of a good day out.

When I was a kid I enjoyed the seaside and trips to the beach. It was a real treat as a child where my Mum and Dad had a day off that coincided and we would take off to Skegness for the day. The weather was not always the greatest, but as kids we didn’t care. We were just excited to go and play at the seaside. The Arcades and the Pier (which was an extension of the Amusement Arcades on the Promenade Seafront.

I remember vividly one trip that included my Maternal Grandmother where a trip to the pier included a trip on a Rocket Ship ride where it would simulate the take off and the jerky movements one would associate with space travel. Today, this would include some kind of Virtual Reality 3D movie being played with deafening sound, what we got all those years back, was a tinny set of speaks and a grainy film played on a 50-inch screen at the tip of the Rocket Ride. Now, it would be quaint, then it was The Rock & Roll Space Ship ride. It is abiding memories like that that make visits to the seaside a memorable day which ever location we chose.

Model of a Space Ship Seaside Ride

A model representation of the Astro Liner Rocket Ship ride.

For me, this trip was a chance for me to try and kick-start something creative. I have been a bit “backed up” when creativity has been my focus lately, and I thought a trip to the coast would give me an option to try something different.

I used to be really into iPhoneography and if you look on this website (under the Photography tag) you’ll find some of my past photographic endeavours. I had no plans for what I would do when I got there, but I knew I had to open my eyes more than just looking where I was going. I have to say, it was kind of nice to just stroll around somewhere looking at “things” in a different way than a normal day-tripper would. One thing I did notice though, was the number of people out in Margate on Wednesday with Cameras. I think I noticed them more than I ordinarily would, because I was trying not to stand out.

In the past I have been very wary of Street Photography, as I have always thought it to be very intrusive to the general public, who generally don’t ask to be photographed and in the main rarely get the chance to object. I didn’t want to be that person who photographed strangers with no thought of others feelings. During the afternoon, I came off of the beach and went and sat myself up on the promenade that overlooked the beach. What I noticed whilst sitting on the floor, that no two people look the same from the calf down, but they all tell a story. What are people doing at the seaside on a hot Wednesday? Are they local? How far have they come?

Lots of questions popped into my head, so I decided that I would take my phone out and just start taking pictures of whomever walked by, but it would only. Be their below knee that would be seen and then it could be up to any possible future audience to decide what those people were doing at the seaside that day.

In all honesty, looking at the pictures now a few days later, I am not sure a truly achieved what I set out to do, but in the next few days, I’ll post the ones I like the best and you can decide for yourself. Did I waste my time? Is there something in the saying Art is in the Eye of the Beholder? Or was it just creepy that I sat there taking pictures of people’s feet?

By the way, I do not have a foot fetish at all, why I chose the feet and not the back of people’s heads is just that I could sit on the floor and secretly take pictures without drawing to much notice to myself.

The process of doing this for twenty minutes or so has revitalised my enjoyment of photography. I just need to get my act together and get out and do more of it. I spoke to a colleague at the peer support group that I help run on a Friday (I really must tell you more about that sometime) – and he suggested expanding on the original idea of not really knowing what people’s circumstances are from something as simple as their shoes. The adage of Walk a Mile in Someone’s Shoes to understand their life. I like this idea, and expanding it to explore Mental Health, it is something I have begun to think of the logistics of doing so.

Until next time…

To aid page loading times, I have created a gallery of the images I have spoken about – If you click the image below, you’ll be taken there. Hope you like them.

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