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Exploring the abandoned structures of the Thames Estuary

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The landscape and built structures of the Thames Estuary are the subject of a new series of images by architectural photographer Frank Watson

The photos have been taken since 2005 as part of a project entitled ‘Soundings From The Estuary’ which has seen spoken word and ambient sound recordings collected together with video and photographic work.

Describing the landscape of the Thames Estuary, Watson said: ‘Much of the Estuary is perceived as a brown field site lacking the traditional attributes of the picturesque. Prominent features include landfill sites, prisons, oil refineries and industrial debris left scattered along the river’s foreshore, among which also lie industrial and military ruins.’

He added: ‘The landscape is always changing because of the seasons and the weather but also the tides that make the estuary a constantly changing terrain. There are many photographs that would be almost impossible to capture again.’

The photographs show built structures such as industrial sites, maritime infrastructure, habitation and even an abandoned airplane against the shifting natural terrain of the area. Many of the built structures are now in ruins, having long fallen out of use.

‘I wanted to convey [the fact that] the estuary has a past that is visible through military and industrial ruins that have been abandoned while at the same time imagining the future of the landscape subjected to the effects of global warming, hence the murky images of mud and mist as well as the effects of flooding of the existing land.’

Thirty of the images have been compiled in a book to accompany the project, with an accompanying essay on the landscape by Jonathan Meades.

Photo from 'Soundings From The Estuary'. Image: Frank Watson

Photo from ‘Soundings From The Estuary’. Image: Frank Watson

Soundings From The Estuary
Frank Watson
Hush House Publishers, hardback, 72 pages, September 2014

 

 

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