Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time: The Photographers’ Gallery, London

Appropriately enough, with the UK recently basking in a rare summer heatwave, the Photographers’ Gallery’s latest Print Sales selling exhibition evokes the British seaside holiday – complete with ice creams. Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time, featuring the work of five leading British photographers, celebrates the landscape, traditions and rituals of the seaside.

Luke Stephenson travelled 3,500 miles around the UK coastline visiting ice cream vans and parlours for 99 x 99s (2013) which, as the title suggests, is a series of 99 pictures of that summer staple, the 99 Flake ice cream. His photographs focus on the elements that make each of the 99 cones unique, whether that be extra toppings of sprinkles or marshmallows or the distinctive shape of the ice cream whip. The “portraits” are paired with images of the vans and parlours where the 99s were purchased.

Mike Perry exhibits images from Môr Plastig (2012) – Welsh for plastic sea – a set of still life colour photographs of plastic detritus washed up on the coast of West Wales and beyond. He photographs these found fragments in his studio against sterile white backgrounds, bringing a forensic eye to the process of decomposition. The resulting photographs contemplate our carelessness towards our surroundings.

Simon Roberts’s Pierdom (2010 – 2013) is a comprehensive survey of Britain’s Victorian pleasure piers. Taken with a large format camera and featuring a minimal colour palette, the photographs address the aesthetics of these seaside fixtures and consider their historical and cultural significance in relation to national identity and economic fortunes over the centuries.

Nicholas Hughes’s Edge (2002 – 2006) series of colourful abstract seascapes continues the deep environmental concerns which run through his work. Inspired by the Southern and Western coastlines, it examines the space between the world that people inhabit and that which nature still claims as its own.

John Hinde’s celebrated Postcards series is set during the 1960s and 70s and depicts some of the nation’s best-loved domestic holiday destinations through a trademark bold use of vivid colours.

Didn’t We Have a Lovely Time features eighteen works on sale with prices ranging from £500 to £8,000 + VAT. Each series is produced in varying dimensions. Additional works/series from each of the participating artists are also available on request.

Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time: The Photographers’ Gallery, London, Until 31 August. The Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW. thephotographersgallery.org.uk

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Credit: Elmar Ludwig, John Hinde Collection, Dreamland Amusement Park, c1960