All life originated in the oceans. All early civilisations developed exclusively near the sea and other sources of water. Whilst we have evolved to walk on terra firma, we still carry our own internal ocean within us – without water, our bodies are dust. The cells suspended within our blood and body are bathed in solution not unlike the organisms that float in our oceans. We simply can’t survive without water. I often marvel at the fact that everything organic on our planet is made up of a large percentage of water, including our own bodies; as new-borns we are some 80% water. Water and light are two of the main elements that support life on this planet, and instinctively inform my photography and especially my Seascapes. Water is my constant yet ever-changing subject, yet I cannot capture it without light.
Eliane Georges, in ‘The Sea’ by Philip Plisson, also said, “If the sea is the womb from which we came – given that life appeared there millions of years before creatures climbed onto dry land, and that the chemical structure of the blood of mammals is very similar to that of the Oceans, just like amniotic fluid – then it also represents our planet’s future. We live in the age of the sea.” So there I was, a small boy, the taste of salt in the air and also - something else - a feeling that I was close to a large space, a feeling of openness of space, a place where I could breathe, really breathe. Coming from the city of Manchester, this was a brand-new feeling.
I didn't actually see the ocean until the next day, when we walked toward the vast openness. As the sea in this part of the country is behind a defence, proudly dressed as a Promenade, it is not visible at first, hidden behind the sloping defence until, as the summit is reached, the vista is revealed in one rush of visual excitement. This is where I first saw the endless blue-green of it all. The sparkling shards of light reflected off the moving swell, as far as I could see, the horizon melting into the pale blue sky which darkened in hue as I raised my eyes in awe. Suddenly, I felt I had come home. I knew then that this young city boy had found his place. Yes, I could breathe here and all that was wrongly connected in my life seemed somehow corrected. All was as it should be. I even wondered if I had been born by the sea? Or from this water? Much later, I would learn this is was nearer the truth than I could have realised at the time.
From there on, I could often be found by, or on, the water, but more often in it! Moving to Bakewell in Derbyshire at six years old I discovered the River Wye and added another watery environment to my repertoire. First the ocean, now a river. Many days after school, I would return home soaked to the skin and, after a little tuition from the local boys, with a tickled trout in my pocket too! So water can feed us!