Gallery: Have you got a photo that celebrates the landscape of the Suffolk coast? Enter the Touching the Tide photography competition

Bill Jenman and Kate Osborne, officers of the Touching the Tide major lottery-funded environment/landscape project on the Suffolk coast. Bill Jenman and Kate Osborne, officers of the Touching the Tide major lottery-funded environment/landscape project on the Suffolk coast.

Monday, March 24, 2014
8:01 PM

The Touching the Tide project and the East Anglian Daily Times are launching a new photographic competition, as John Grant reports

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Felixstowe BeachFelixstowe Beach

The unique charm, beauty and allure of the Suffolk coast may be widely acclaimed and perhaps even universally loved, but it also means something different, something personal, to everyone who cherishes it.

Whether it’s the sense of wildness, its wide horizons under vast skies, its purple-hazed heathlands or the “silver sea” that laps its shore, the coastline of Suffolk has distinctive characteristics that are treasured by many.

The coastline is, by any definition of the word, special.

Now everyone in the county is being invited to express in photographic form what the coast means to them - what makes it so distinctive.

Touching the Tide, a Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership Scheme, is joining forces with the East Anglian Daily Times to launch the Touching the Tide Photography Competition.

Touching the Tide ( TtT) project manager Bill Jenman said TtT was “all about celebrating and conserving the landscape of the Suffolk coast, and about what makes this landscape special”.

But, he asked, what exactly is landscape? “Is it the hills and valleys and estuaries? Is it the historic villages and towns? Is it the fields full of pig arks and snuffling porkers? Is it the sense of timelessness that you get by the water on a quiet summer’s evening?

“Actually, it’s all those things,” he said.

As part of its preparatory work, TtT commissioned a landscape study of the Suffolk coast which was carried out by Alison Farmer Associates. It identified ten different character areas, and these will form the basis of the photographic competition

“Each landscape character area has a unique sense of place,” said Mr Jenman. “For instance, the Blyth Estuary and the Alde/Ore have much in common, but they feel different. The grazing marshes of the upper Alde are different to the area around Orford, and both are very different to Orford Ness. You can look at the landscape character assessment we did on the Touching the Tide website, but we’re inviting photographers to capture what they think makes each of the different parts of the Suffolk coast so distinctive.”

Photographers are being invited to submit their work reflecting the moods, nature and dynamism of the Suffolk coast.

“There are ten coastal character areas (CCAs) identified in the landscape character assessment and photographers will be limited to two entries per CCA. Photographers are encouraged to capture every part of the Suffolk coastline, not just the well-known attractions,” Mr Jenman said.

The competition would be open until March 31, 2015. The results would be a lasting record of Suffolk photographers’ work and would be lodged with the Suffolk Archive.

Throughout the period of the competition the project would promote photographic days, particularly to the less well-known or inaccessible parts of the Suffolk coastline, he said. These would aim to encourage submissions away from the well-known frontages, and some workshops on technical and compositional approaches would help everyone who wanted to know how to make the most of their camera.

Outlining the competition rules, Mr Jenman said it would be open to photographers resident in Suffolk. “There will be a junior section for children who have not yet reached their 15th birthday.

“Professional photographers can enter too, as long as they let us know who they are,” he said.

Photographs entered into the competition must be of the Suffolk coast, and the photographer should state where the photograph was taken, noting that a maximum of two entries per character area are permitted.

Photographs did not have to have been taken this year but they must not have been previously published, other than on the photographer’s own personal social media site if relevant.

Images should be submitted electronically via the TtT website and must be in Jpeg format, with a maximum file size of 3.5mb and a resolution of 300ppi, SRG colour or black and white. The winning photographers would be asked if they have higher resolution copies for printing.

The competition has categories for: the changing coast, historic buildings, the people of the coast, issues and concerns and the best landscape portrait that captured the character of each character area – there being one winner for each of the ten areas.

Mr Jenman stressed that there was no specific wildlife category. “Pictures of wild animals or plants can be at the heart of a wider composition that captures an aspect of the landscape, but if you simply have a great picture of, for example, avocets on the strandline, there are other competitions you can enter,” he said.

The judging panel will be made up of a representatives of the Touching the Tide Partnership Board, two Archant representatives – photographer Sarah Lucy Brown and environment correspondent John Grant – Alison Farmer and himself, said Mr Jenman.

“The judges will look for the best picture in each category and an overall best photograph and runner-up, so there will be up to 30 winners. The judges will also award ‘specially commended’ status to any pictures that didn’t quite make first place in any category,” he said.

The judges reserved the right not to award first prize in any particular category if there were no entries of sufficient quality.

Entrants must sign a copyright release document allowing Archant Suffolk (publishers of the East Anglian Daily Times), Touching the Tide and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to use the images submitted, though copyright will otherwise remain with the photographer.

The judges’ decision would be final and no correspondence would be entered into. All prizewinning photographs, and all those specially commended, would be framed and exhibited at a public exhibition. Photographers would have the opportunity to sell copies of their pictures and would be able to keep the framed print of their photograph afterwards, added Mr Jenman.

As well as their framed prints, each adult prize-winner would receive a cheque for £50, with an additional £100 and £50 respectively for the overall first and second place. Each under-15 prize-winner would receive their framed print and £20.

The detailed landscape character assessment carried out for Touching the Tide by Cambridge-based Alison Farmer Associates defines 10 distinct zones within the project’s area.

Here are snapshots of its in-depth descriptions for each zone:

Covehithe to Southwold: The area has a “strong sense of remoteness” and is “undergoing dramatic change as a result of rapid coastal erosion” but has “outstanding nature conservation value”.

River Blyth Estuary and Marshes: “Very scenic” with a “strong sense of timelessness and naturalness”.

Dunwich and Sizewell Coast: A landscape with a “remote and isolated feel, sometimes desolate”. Dunwich and RSPB Minsmere attract a large number of visitors, and Sizewell’s power stations and power lines “dominate the landscape such that other landscape features and activities feel small and insignificant”.

Thorpeness to Aldeburgh Coast: “An expansive, open, windswept landscape, and this sense of scale is strongly contrasted with the small-scale, sheltered character of the settlements.”

Alde Estuary: “Meandering watercourses flanked by areas of intertidal mudflat, backed by coastal grazing marsh and gentle valley sides of rolling arable farmland with areas of remnant heath and plantation woodland beyond.”

Orford and Alderton Coast: A landscape of “sand dunes and shingle ridges backed by coastal levels and then by the gently rising land of rolling estate sandlands, and small areas of estate sandlands inland.”

Orford Ness: “Unique both for 
its conservation value and its unusual military history” and “internationally important both geomorphologically and for nature conservation”.

Bawdsey and Deben Coast: A landscape of “coastal dunes and shingle ridges, with coastal levels and rolling estate sandlands.”

Deben Estuary: “A tranquil and sheltered, narrow, sinuous and often intimate estuary landscape”.

Felixstowe Seafront: “A strongly urbanised coastal landscape associated with the seaside town and port of Felixstowe, mixing a busy urban character with the feel of the open sea.”

Entries should be submitted to TtT’s email address: touchingthetide@suffolk.gov.uk
Prizewinners will be notified via email or post during April 2015.

A list of prizewinners will then be made available on the Touching the Tide website where the full competition rules can also be found.

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