The end of the year is a time when many of us rewind and review the previous 12 months. We assess what’s changed and what hasn’t, what’s been good and what’s been not so good, what we’ve achieved and what plans we have for the next year. It’s a time of year when the emphasis on fixed traditions and repeated rituals make changes particularly noticeable: a missing loved one, a new member of the family, or a different situation.
One of our year-end rituals is to spend a weekend in Aldeburgh, a town on England’s east coast. We’ve been going every year (sometimes several times) for a while now. Lockdown prevented us visiting in 2020 but we hope to be back for our annual Christmas trip this year—fingers crossed. And our trips to Aldeburgh, and the pictures I have taken there, allow me to chronicle how my approach to photography has evolved over the years.
Looking back at my pictures of Aldeburgh, I realise it’s a place where I feel comfortable enough to experiment with new things. (It helps that we go by car, so it’s easy to take an extra camera or two, which isn’t always possible with foreign trips—remember those?—where luggage space is at a premium.) Here are some of my pictures, starting more than a decade ago, in which I’m trying different techniques and approaches. For example, the first time I explored bokeh on film:
The times I played with Polaroids, and made collages of each stay:
The fun I’ve had with diptychs over the years:
My virgin trip out with my Leica M6, shooting black-and-white film:
Experimenting with Cinestill film:
I’ve taken some of my all-time favourite images on this beach in Aldeburgh.
Some of my images from these trips have ended up in stock libraries. The one on the left appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, and the one on the right was used as a book cover. So for me, Aldeburgh really is place for taking stock, in more ways than one!
Do you have a regular place that you visit, where you can look back and review how things have changed for you? I would love to hear in the comments.