Critical Mass Top 50, 2011

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Michael Marten

Perranporth, Cornwall. 29 and 30 August 2007. Low water 12 noon, high water 8pm

Porthcawl, Glamorgan. 17 May 2007. Low water 12 noon, high water 8pm

Hayle river mouth, Cornwall. 18 March 2010. Low water 12 noon, high water 6pm

Harbour, Berwickshire. 22 August 2005. Low water 11am, high water 6pm

Solway Firth. 27 and 28 March 2006. Low water 5.20pm, high water 12 noon

Cuckmere Haven, Sussex. 12 August 2006. Low water 9.15am, high water 2.50pm

Crosby, Liverpool. 5 and 7 April 2008. High water 12 noon, low water 9am

Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk. 10 March 2005. Low water 1pm, high water 5.30pm

Cockenzie, East Lothian. 23 August 2005. Low water 10.40am, high water 7.30pm

Cullen, Moray Firth. 29 and 30 March 2006. Low water 6.40pm, high water 12 noon
Michael Marten

'Sea Change' is a study of the tides round the coast of Britain. The views in each diptych are taken from identical positions at low tide and high tide, usually 6 or 18 hours apart. I am interested in showing how landscape changes over time through natural processes and cycles. The camera that observes low and high tide side by side enables us to observe simultaneously two moments in time, two states of nature. Recent landscape photography has often focused on human shaping (and reshaping) of the environment - agriculture, urbanisation, globalisation, pollution. Even when this approach is critical and committed, it also serves to emphasise, even glamorise, humankind's power over nature. I'm interested in rediscovering nature's own powers: the elemental forces and processes that underlie and shape the planet. The tides are one of these great natural cycles. I hope these photographs will stimulate people's awareness of natural change, of landscape as dynamic process rather than static image. Attending to earth's rhythms can help us to reconnect with the fundamentals of our planet, which we ignore at our peril. 'Sea Change' also comments on climate change. The tide floods in and quickly recedes again, but rising sea levels will flood our shores and not recede for thousands or millions of years. Many of the views in these pictures may have disappeared in 100 years' time. 'Sea Change' is an example of 'comparative photography', where two or more images show development in time (or other dimensions). The 'rephotography' of Mark Klett, and Nicholas Nixon's portraits of the Brown sisters, are well-known examples.