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“The past leaves traces of itself in the present”

(Rovelli 2019: 144).

Since the first time I visited the remote stretch of beach between Covehithe and Benacre in Suffolk, I have felt a deep connection to this worryingly beautiful place.

This stretch of beach has experienced some of the fastest and unpredictable coastal erosion in Britain, at times losing four to six metres of cliff per year to the North Sea. The losses on this beach from these coastal processes are visible in the crumbling cliffs, the eerie remains of sandblasted and sea-bleached fallen trees, exposed wartime drain pipes poking out of the cliffs, and concrete wartime structures part buried in the sand ready to be swallowed by the sea.

I became immersed in this unsettling and paradoxically beautiful place saturated in deep time and memory. Throughout the Summer, I visited the beach many times, with my large format analogue camera and black and white sheet film, and then later with the negatives produced from the earlier visits to photograph in colour digitally to form this series of work that examines time and loss.

This work offers a different interpretation of time, the superimposing of the two images and durations layered to create the new image with two horizon lines, challenges our ideas of temporality.

On this beach, complex layers of memory buried deep within me were unearthed reminding me of my losses much as the remains visible on this beach reminds us all of the impermanence of life. I could feel my memories resurface and my losses swell within me just as the waves swell and break along this beach. It became a time to experience the essence of these emotions again in the present after time had already healed so much for me. These emotions surfaced, reminding me of how I have loved and been loved, to settle again in a new place much as this North Sea coastline is doing.

© Tracy Tattersall 2023


Saturday 8th July.

Take a journey around the shores of the Suffolk and Essex coastline as seen through the eyes of five artists and photographers. A unique exhibition showcases in the art studio at the Mill Tye Gallery.

The exhibition previews on Saturday 8th July from 10:30 am to 6pm. Join us for drinks and nibbles from 11am onwards.

RSVP Register Now

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