About Simon Fowler. Capture, Process & Art Direction.
Over the last decade I have been focusing my photography on the East coast and the Thames Estuary, on the way it carves out the landscape and the activities preformed on it. My images are about the changing contours and weather patterns, and people that work and live on the estuary as the tide ebbs and flows.
I generally walk all along the North coast from Benfleet to Foulness, and on occasion along the South side of the riverbank, around the Isle of Grain and up to Margate.
In the last couple of years I have undertaken various trips, including visits to structures such as the Maunsell Sea Forts and SEALAND, which gave me the opportunity to photograph and document these incredible pieces of architecture, which have become landmarks of the estuary.
I have also have been included in activities such as sailing out to the outer parameters of the estuary to Kentish Knock -recognized as the furthest marker of the boundary with the North Sea, and travelling through the wind farms scattered around the high sands. Additionally, I have taken part in events such as the Thames barge races, and a fabulous 2 day trip on a cockle boat from Leigh-on-Sea.
In the last year I have been working very closely with the writer Rachel Lichtenstein illustrating her new book – Estuary – Out of London into the Sea. This has included visits to the ports situated along the inner estuary and has had such an impact on the environment along it. Again, this has given me the opportunity to have rare access to areas not visited by the public.
I have also been working with METAL culture on a set of images to promote the new Estuary 2016 Festival, which took place in September 2016.
My technique has become well-recognised, and often been referred to as 'painterly'. This is no accident: in my postproduction I have worked tirelessly on profiles to create that look and impression - especially on landscape images.
My ability to read the weather and dedication to finding new locations and different angles to photograph the estuary landscape have fuelled my passion for this section of the Thames and, of course, the fact I live right on the Estuary has helped me gauge very quickly if the water is going to give a performance.
I am especially drawn to the estuary in the early hours of the morning and sometimes have to hold my breath at the beautiful big skies it can project - even just for a fleeting moment.
Moving forward, my hope is to catalogue a collection of my images into a book: offering a very personal view on this beautiful landscape - with a new, modern outlook.
Simon Fowler – Photographer