Where Land Runs Out consists of a series of unique camera-less cyanotypes on paper, which reflect the changing and fragile coastal landscape in the area around Shingle Street in Suffolk. This body of work forms part of a wider ongoing project based around Orford Ness and Shingle Street. Shingle Street is a small hamlet on the East coast of England consisting of a row of bungalows and old coastguard cottages looking directly out to the North Sea. The deep shingle beach is approximately one mile long, running south from the mouth of the River Alde, and faces Orfordness spit, which is to the North. It is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its flora, fauna and geology and is part of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a desolate landscape, with a vast open expanse of shingle, subject to coastal erosion and sea level rises. This area is a particularly vulnerable part of the coastline, exposed to rapid changes and at risk of disappearing. The juxtaposition of the isolated, contemplative environment and disruptive power of the sea also fascinates me. At low tide, and when the sea is calm, the waves break slowly and roll gently up to the shoreline. You can hear the gentle ebb and flow of the sea. As the tide comes in, and wind across the North Sea builds, the sounds intensify. The wind whistles across the shingle, waves crash as they hit the shore, pebbles wash up and down the beach again and again; the rhythmic sound building until it reaches its crescendo. Much of this is evidenced in the resulting images – signs of sediment washed on to the paper, water marks from the wind and crashing waves, the paper torn and creased; all showing how changeable and fragile this coastal landscape is.
To produce the prints, the paper was first hand coated with light sensitive cyanotype emulsion and left to dry. During periods of high and low tide, the paper was then physically immersed in the sea, capturing the fleeting traces of the waves, wind and sediment at the shoreline, and creating new, abstract landscapes. The images have not been fully fixed and so continue to subtly change over time, reflecting the constantly changing landscape.
The work was initially produced for a solo presentation at the Broadway Gallery, Letchworth Garden City in 2019, as part of their photography season showing alongside Cornelia Parker's One Day This Glass Will Break and Photo Letchworth. It has since gone on to be shortlisted by Hundred Heroines for their Struck by Light open call in 2020, which was included in a digital exhibition during Kensington & Chelsea Art Week, exhibited internationally with the Struck by Light artists in Barcelona at the Valid World Hall Gallery as part of the International Experimental Photography Festival 2021 and SVITLO at Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam in 2022, featured in US publication Point A to Point B - Analog Explorations, and shortlisted for the Blue Shop Cottage Works on Paper 4 exhibition.
A second series Botanical Specimens, also on show, draws from the distinct flora found on the shingle beach to create abstract ‘phytograms’, which uses the internal chemistry of the plant to help develop the image.

Install images © Corey Bartell Sanderson