Weston Beach, Weston-super-Mare, 2018 (Rob Ball)
Gallery Words : Wanderlust Team | 02 June 2019

10 fascinating photos of Britain's most famous seafronts

These photos taken from Rob Balls' book Funland show visually rich costalscapes from up and down the UK. So, instead of looking outward, look inward at what lines our beloved seaside towns...

Viking Bay, Broadstairs, 2014 (Rob Ball)

Viking Bay, Broadstairs, 2014 (Rob Ball)

Herne Bay Pier, Herne Bay, 2011 (Rob Ball)

Herne Bay Pier, Herne Bay, 2011 (Rob Ball)

Stand at the ocean's edge and look outward, and you'll fathom why, long ago, we itched to set sail on its rippling, pewter-grey deep. Why men bartered lives, fortunes (and sometimes their conscience) to reach India, Japan, America, beyond

— Lucy Davies 

Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton, 2017 (Rob Ball)

Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton, 2017 (Rob Ball)

Bland’s Cliff, Scarborough, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Bland’s Cliff, Scarborough, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Stand at its edge and look inward, though, at the clamorous architecture bunched along our seafronts, the placards and notices and bills of fare, and you grapple with something else. These site and relics - forlorn and stubborn in equal meaure — are tangible expressions of desire and despair; the things we have aspired to, our peculiar island temperament, the ways in which we try to forget our lives, lose ourselves, find comfort.

— Lucy Davies 

Clarence Pier, Southsea, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Clarence Pier, Southsea, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Promenade, Blackpool, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Promenade, Blackpool, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Pleasureland, Leisureland, Dreamland, Funland read the signs. And fun and satiety are the only ends in mind. Actions carry no consequence, in a way that is impossible in everyday life... The implication that you have been temporarily transported to somewhere else, some wickedly credible kingdom with its own rules, is everywhere — the words golden, silver, magic, escape are picked out in a million lightbulbs.

— Lucy Davies 

Torbay Road, Paignton, Devon, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Torbay Road, Paignton, Devon, 2018 (Rob Ball)

The Boating Pool, Ramsgate, 2010 ( Rob Ball)

The Boating Pool, Ramsgate, 2010 ( Rob Ball)

Their coercive, looping script in bright yellow, orange and red sits like geological strata on top of fraying Regency and Edwardian facades, adding to a nagging undercurrent of melancholy and dereliction, the feeling of something past its best... You can't ignore that decline. Foreign travel, packaged holidays, the closure of dedicated holiday trains... have conspired to deprive seaside towns of visitors and income.

— Lucy Davies 

Sea Chef Restaurant, Great Yarmouth, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Sea Chef Restaurant, Great Yarmouth, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Weston Beach, Weston-super-Mare, 2018 (Rob Ball)

Weston Beach, Weston-super-Mare, 2018 (Rob Ball)

I should add that if you spent any time at these places as a child, the pleasure to be had in recognising the candyfloss bags and 'crazy milkshakes', the gruesome threadbare carpets and the net curtains, is joyous.

— Lucy Davies 

See more of Funland's photographs

Funland is available to buy now, published by Hoxton Mini Press

Funland is available to buy now, published by Hoxton Mini Press

From Blackpool to Brighton, and Barry Island to Brightlingsea, these richly-detailed photographs capture the candyfloss colours and faded nostalgia of a seaside culture that is peculiarly (yet wonderfully) British.

Rob Ball has been a photographer for over 20 years. He spent time working as a news, sport and crime scene photographer before shifting to long-form personal projects while lecturing at Canterbury Christ Church University. Rob has exhibited his work internationally and continues to work on projects and commissions while lecturing.

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