Drawn to the coast
A deep-seated attraction to the sea is what inspires Andy Farrer’s coastal shots
Published in November ’14Andy Farrer’s love of the sea in general, and the Purbeck coast in particular, come from the fact that he was born and bred in Swanage. His love of photography comes from the moment when, on returning from a holiday to the Isle of Wight, for which he’d been bought a Kodak Instamatic, his photos turned out to be better than those taken by his father.
He tried many different photographic fields after going to art college – doing weddings, portraits, even working in laboratories – but left photography alone for a while. In 2007, he was blown away by the quality of the digital pictures taken by the photographer at his wedding and so he started back up again. He’s not looked back since.
Andy’s trademark shot can probably best be described as a familiar scene, but shot in a way that’s different to the sometimes hackneyed views that have been taken by visitors. This comes from Andy’s familiarity with the subjects, his proximity to them (which permits him to see scenes at all times of year, many of which will not be familiar to those who only visit Dorset) and, his willingness to go out in all weathers and at all times of day to be there when the particular magical combination of light direction, cloud positioning and tonal range required for a particular shot appears for a brief moment.
This is perhaps exemplified (if not in terms of health and safety) when he went out twice on the first day of the major storms that battered the Purbeck coast in February this year. He headed straight for Durdle Door thinking he might be the person to get the last picture of the Door itself – or perhaps the first picture of the gatepost left after the storms had battered it. As it turns out, he sat for hours in the morning, but the light was wrong, all his drying cloths were soaking and he himself was too. After a brief trip home, he returned to catch the memorable shot shown in this piece of Durdle Door almost wholly obscured by the massive waves battering it. Fortunately, both Andy and Durdle Door survived.
In terms of photography, his revisiting of his favourite scenes means that he can ‘allow nature to make the patterns. The coastline changes a lot and you can take a sequence of pictures which, whilst technically the same, show different clouds, different light, different seas.’
As to his constant attraction to the sea, Andy describes it thus: ‘The sea is a lot louder than the woods; the noise blocks everything else out and you can just be.’ ◗