Exhibitions & Publications

Private View of The George Wilson Collection Exhibition

Curated by SEAS Photography director, Karen Shepherdson, Arcade Tales: The George Wilson Collection, was the inaugural exhibition held in the Daphne Oram Building for the Creative Arts at CCCU. The exhibition include photographs from George Wilson (housed at SEAS Photography) along with a bespoke Margate arcade game (made by Dr Alan Meades and Dr Jo Baxter-Webb) and a documentary film on George Wilson by alumni Shaun Vincent.


Beyond the View: New Perspectives in Seaside Photography

“The book is beautifully produced with great texts and photography and a 'photobook' in its own right. It is an important contribution to the subject and the editors and contributors are to be congratulated on producing an original publication that adds to our knowledge of this genre, in such an accessible way.” Michael Pritchard, Director-General of The Royal Photographic Society 

The book by SEAS Photography’s Rob Ball and Karen Shepherdson includes an essay by Colin Harding and provides new insight into commercial seaside photographic practice from 1850-1980. The research brings focus onto a hitherto overlooked form of demotic photography, revealing rich seams of imagery and offering new perspectives on working class coastal history. Through this publication images which have never previously been seen are made visible and accessible.

SEA BATHERS: Reflections and Responses

For many people living along the south-east coast, sea bathing is part of their summer experience. This event was organised by SEAS Photography to coincide with the start of the 2015 sea swimming season. The event sought to consider how sea swimming contributes to the culture, economy and health of the region. 

SEA BATHERS: Reflections and Responses offered an exciting day of events which specifically reflected and responded to sea swimming. The event included a presentation by sea swimmer and cultural historian Susie Parr and also artist talks and presentations by filmmaker Emma Critchley and SEAS’ Director Karen Shepherdson. Dom Bridges was also in attendance, demonstrating the prototype of the much acclaimed contemporary Margate Sea Bathing Machine.

The event took place at Turner Contemporary. Following a morning of talks the event moved to Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, Cliftonville where Rob Ball’s tintype itinerant portrait studio  was located along with a Camera Obscura which was freely open to the public.


Curated Web Exhibition: Beyond the View: Reframing Early Seaside Photography, commissioned by Arts & Humanities Research Council (2016)

SEAS Photography Director, Dr Karen Shepherdson reveals rich and exciting seams of imagery and provides new insights into an overlooked form of photography. The images shown are all unique tintypes and ambrotyes, making visible for the first time an online exhibition exploring prototype holiday snaps. New perspectives on representations of coastal culture and leisure are provided as we gain a glimpse of commercial photographic practice as early as 1850. See AHRC Image Gallery.

BeyondtheView Research Poster.jpg

SEAS Photography Research Poster (2014)

Created by research intern Alice Woosey.

Beyond the View: Reframing the Sunbeam Photographic Collection, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury, UK. July 10th – August 23rd 2014

This significant exhibition at the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury showed more than 700 images taken by the Sunbeam Photographic Company and a number of rare items on show associated with seaside photographic practice.. Also include in the exhibition were examples from John Hinde and Tony Ray Jones. 

The Director of SEAS Photography, Dr Karen Shepherdson explained the importance of the exhibition: “For much of the twentieth century the Sunbeam Photographic Company represented and reflected British culture. Sunbeam photographically documented on a vast scale life in the UK’s south east and specifically that of the coast and the Isle of Thanet. It is perhaps easy to regard such collections of commercial photography as ephemeral, yet the images within the archive and those to be shown at the summer exhibition are wonderfully worthy of reappraisal and reimagining.”

Comments from the exhibition included:

“I must praise the exhibition. [The] prints were technically excellent and the presentation superb. It was interesting to see the display methods and I have made mental notes of how this was achieved that may be useful to me in the future. I really liked the frames and the actual space of the exhibition... The Tony Ray Jones/ Martin Parr exhibition at the Science Museum was the first place I had seen truly excellent digital prints that were comparable with conventional photographic prints. The Sunbeam prints on display at the Sidney Cooper Gallery are every bit good as those seen at the Science Museum; they bear very close inspection and appear flawless if not perfect. Well done!” (Paul Godfrey)


“The Beyond the View exhibition is an excellent introduction to the work and archive of SEAS’. At its core is the wonderful Sunbeam Collection, which has been rescued for the Nation by SEAS’, and in the exhibition we have a glimpse of the richness and variety of the work that is part of this archive, together with a few highlights such as a John Hinde image and the iconic image by Tony Ray-Jones from Ramsgate. This all whets the appetite for what else we can expect to see in the future.” (Martin Parr)