Going Away

PhotographerPeter Bennett
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Going Away explores the coast as a ‘remembered place’, a place of escape and of imaginative departure from which we contemplate past time. This liminal landscape, where land meets sea, is rich in associations between what is fixed and boundless, stable and unstable, located and placeless. The faded look of the images alludes to the appearance of old photographs, which over time are bleached by too much light, dissolving away what is visible and reminding us that the medium of photography, celebrated for its ability to capture time, is itself impermanent.


Going Away explores the coast as a “remembered place” that triggers notions of escape and imaginative departure into past time. The photographs that make up this selection of work were taken along several distinct stretches of the Cumbrian coast in England. This bleak and beautiful coastline, which has been home to industries as diverse as shipbuilding and nuclear power, is often overlooked by the floods of tourists who head for the scenic inland vistas of the Lake District National Park. At low tide, the shoreline reveals vast uninhabitable spaces, inviting exploration on foot and the possibility of literally walking out to sea. The tranquil appearance unveiled by the sea’s absence belies the hidden quicksand and perilous tides ready to claim the lives of those who are lured too far from the safety of land. The sea, as a surface, evades inscription and is therefore resistant to the marks of past time. Its constant motion and lack of fixity defy the locatedness of memory and erase the traces of what has been. The liminal landscape depicted in Going Away, the border between land and sea, is a place where the action of the tides transforms the nature of what can be seen and thereby remembered. The dwellings that inhabit this edge of land are rendered diminutive against the infinite shifting expanse and sublime mesmerizing power of the sea. This duality of sea and land is culturally linked to wider notions of what is geographically fixed and boundless, knowable and unknowable, stable and unstable, located and placeless. This is a refuge, far from the thrust of the city, where vast reflective spaces provide a backdrop upon which to project past memories and past dreams. The materiality of the photographic process forms a prominent motif in Going Away, the temporality of the record echoing the ephemeral presence of the scene it portrays. The “bleaching out” of the images and liminality of the spaces suggest a metaphorical association with the processes of fading and erasure of memory. To achieve this appearance, the “time” of the image was extended by giving the film too much light (or over exposure) and allowing the excess of light to etch into the emulsion and distort the tonal range. Light thus becomes both the creator and eventually the destroyer of the image. Adjustments were made in the printing process to produce a look that alludes to the appearance of old photographs, which over time, undergo their own material transformations, being bleached by the action of light and eroded by contaminants, the visible appearance they preserve being slowly “washed away”. The materiality of the photographic remnant, while prolonging the passing of memory, can be seen ultimately to echo the transience of the moment it displaces.

About Photographer

Education MPhil Photography, University of Brighton, completion due 2013 MA Photography (Distinction), University of Brighton, 2010 BA(Hons) Photographic Studies, University of Derby, 1987 Selected Exhibitions 2013 Surface Exposure, University of Brighton Gallery, UK 2013 Fifth International Artist Book Exhibition, King St. Stephen Museum, Székesfehérvár, Hungary 2013 Voyage: Sea Journeys, Island Hopping & Trans-oceanic Concepts, Das Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund, Germany 2012 Cos x Frieze Art Fair, Stratford Westfield Centre, London, UK (Solo show) 2011 Transience, Galerie Huit Photography Open Salon 2011, Les Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival, Arles, France 2010 UKX10, AvenueL Gallery, Seoul, South Korea Selected Publications 2013 Photographies Volume 6, Issue 2 2013 Photomonitor (August Edition) - featured portfolio – online magazine 2013 Blow Photo Magazine (Issue 6) – editorial winner - online gallery 2012 Transience, Galerie Huit book of exhibition 2012 Photoworks Magazine – online gallery