Soundings from the Estuary

  • Frank Watson_Estuary 1.jpg
  • Frank Watson_Estuary 4.jpg
  • Frank Watson_Estuary 2.jpg
  • Frank Watson_Estuary 3.jpg
  • Frank Watson_Estuary 5.jpg

I cannot recall how, when or where I became aware of Frank Watson's work - it might be that someone mentioned his Hush House project to me, which documents cold war sites in England. The photographs of the Hush House series are - unsurprisingly - of a certain bleakness, both in terms of subject and representation. In the Soundings from the Estuary he takes this aesthetic to the Estuary - devoid of people but rich in traces left behind, there is a certain dystopian atmosphere in the photographs - some could be stills from a Tarkovsky set. And undoubtedly the Estuary is rich in subjects that lend themselves to be read in this way. But the aim of the Soundings project goes beyond documenting an as-is status, it aims also to project to a not-so-distant future, where the estuarian landscapes, and our relationship to them, are changed by rising sea levels. The Soundings from the Estuary project is also more than the photographic series - it features contributions from Germander Speedwell in written form, and a collaboration with the sound artist Dave Lawrence. 

The website contains an interview with the artists and architects Tony Broomhead and Nicky Kirk from Amenity Space, recorded for Resonance radio in 2008.

In 2017, Mark Aitken did an interview with Frank Watson on his 'There Then, Hear Now' programme on Resonance FM.

The photographs were published as a book in 2014, available to order from the website

Frank Watson