Growing up as I did, at least 1,000 miles in any direction from the ocean, I still find tides to be quite mysterious and almost magical.
Where is this mythical “sea level” if the water level changes by 25 feet or so in an 18 hour period?
It makes me dizzy to think that the shore that I stand on is soon to be covered with water deep enough for boating.
This amazing series of photos is by Michael Marten. He features the coastlines of the Britain. In an article he wrote for Camera Obscura he notes: “The island of Britain isn’t big by international standards, but its coastline measures 17,800 km if you were to walk round all the headlands, bays, sea lochs and estuaries.” That is a lot of places to explore. “The British coast isn’t just long, it’s extraordinarily varied. There are long sandy beaches, white chalk cliffs, industrial estuaries, harbours large and small, tidal saltmarshes, and great sweeps of flat sand and mud.”
He seeks out times and places where the water level varies the most from low to high tide. Most of these photos were shot either 6 or 18 hours apart at a ‘spring tide.’ Apparently, the designation of ‘spring tide’ has nothing to do with the season of the year, but rather because they rise higher. The spring tide is in the days around the new moon and around the full moon.
Marten hopes his photos will increase awareness of natural change, of landscape as dynamic process rather than static image.
It is amazing how much land can be swallowed by the sea in a matter of a few hours.
His photographs manage to be both technically fascinating and aesthetically beautiful.
All images from Michael Marten’s website
He will be exhibiting this series at Oxo Gallery in London in September, 2012.