Ian’s focus is documenting hidden places in northern Britain and the Isle of Man. So many people say there is nothing to see in their local area, when the reality is that there is something at every corner – something that is particularly pertinent at the moment with travel being so restricted. Our local areas have become our boundaries. Ian’s work examines what many people will view as ordinary, elevating it into something that surprises. He likes to make people stop and look twice, to think ‘I wish I’d spotted that’ or ‘I’ve never noticed that’, and to want to visit or revisit the place themselves. This and the following two images make up a small part of an ongoing project documenting the Island’s sea walls, with elements of human activity, both fixed and moving. All works employ non-digital image capture to create photographs with the timeless quality that only analogue film and hand printing can achieve. Ian hand-prints the images onto heavyweight warm-tone fibre paper, then dry-mounts them onto board.
ZEBRA TO THE SEA
This shows the sea wall in Ramsey, with a zebra crossing that leads the viewer out to sea. The zebra crossing, with its Belisha beacons, gives us a safe way to cross the road, while the retaining sea wall hides from us the lower shoreline. This boundary between our world of concrete and tarmac certainty is only a few steps away from the marine world of tides, shifting sands and uncertainty. In time the world of the sea will far outlive our created world.
LIMITED SEA WALL
The shaped sea wall at Castletown, with its rough cast semicircular concrete steps, leads the eye up to the lampost with the 30mph sign. The wall can be seen as a metaphor for our attempts to curb and control the boundaries of the sea,while the 30mph sign indicates how we limit ourselves in our daily actions to conform to boundaries of our own making.