The South East Archive of Seaside Photography (SEAS Photography) was first established in 2012 with assistance from a Heritage Lottery Fund award. It is located at Canterbury Christ Church University within the Centre for Research on Communities & Cultures. The Archive undertakes research into seaside photographic practices, communities and cultures. SEAS Photography specialises in curating exhibitions, publications, events and spectacle that offer new and exciting perspectives on British seaside photography and our coastal communities. Our collections currently include the substantial Sunbeam Photographic Company Archive; Walkies & Seaside Pictures; Dreamland (commissioned by the Dreamland Trust) and the Newington Housing Estate (commissioned by the Big Local and People Utd). The SEAS Photography team consists of its director Dr Karen Shepherdson, Deputy Director Mr Rob Ball, Archivist Mr Nigel Breadman and perhaps most importantly an amazing and amazingly talented brigade of community volunteers.
Since 2012, SEAS Photography been digitally archiving the substantial Sunbeam photographic collection. Sunbeam, was the dominant commercial photographic company, which ‘worked’ the Isle of Thanet’s coastline (Margate/Broadstairs/Ramsgate etc) and beyond. The collection archived is owned by Thanet District Council and in partnership with TDC and Margate Museum, SEAS Photography has made publically excessible these extraordinary and once hidden images.
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SEAS Photography has an ongoing focus on locating, collating and archiving ‘Walkies’ photographs taken along the South East Coast. Whilst predominantly taken by Sunbeam photographers, there are few of these poignant images within the actual Sunbeam Collection – they were not at the time of taking regarded as worthy of archiving. But this strand of activity offers an exciting ongoing opportunity to raise awareness of the rich visual heritage residing within many of the homes of the local communities. Coastal communities matter and the images within the Walkies Collection not only signify the local population at play, but also those migrating to the shoreline for a short time of pleasure and holiday.