These photographs were made between 2007 - 2012 while Hughes was traveling and exhibiting work in the USA. Hughes read Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie as he explored the coastlines of Virginia and Florida. The resulting pictures concentrate on the mundane nature of the beach and intimate knowledge of how the waters edge might be experienced beyond that of a surfer or beach affecianado. Hughes' enduring interest in the interaction between place, objects and the seascape is also evident. His approach to the coast echoes his photographic approach to waste and plastic pollution.
Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. The East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC) hold an annual surfing contests and is one of the United States Surfing Federation’s major amateur events.
Hughes met this man at the beach, they both chatted about why they were there. It was a late October day and both were suprised how few visitors were in the city. He had travelled many hundreds of miles to see the sea, it was the first time he had ever seen the ocean.
In 1839, Charlotte Bronte saw the sea for the first time at Bridlington, Yorkshire, before she arrived she wrote, ‘the idea of seeing the sea-of been near it-watching its changes by sunrise, sunset, moonlight, and noon day, in calm-perhaps in storm, fills and satisfies my mind’.
The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell, published 1857.
Fun Park, Virginia Beach.
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