Title: Seacoalers

<h4>Mik Critchlow<br/>(Photographer)</h4>

Exhibits: 13 (show all)

The community of seacoal gatherers at Lynemouth, Northumberland, documented in the early 1980s, by the Ashington photographer (cousin to one of the seacoalers), who brought them to Amber after the making of the film Seacoal...more &raquo;


Mik Critchlow (Photographer)

Photographer’s statement, 2003:

I took these photographs between 1981 and 1983. My cousin Trevor was working as a seacoaler and he told me that the rights to the beach had been sold to a private contractor, who was blocking the route they had traditionally taken. I went down there with Trevor to photograph the concrete blocks as evidence against the private contractor. It became a relationship from then on: I was taking photographs around the camp as the relationship developed. In a way, I was in quite a privileged position because anybody w with cameras down there would be chased, because the seacoalers would have thought they were working for the Social Security. I was allowed to photograph as and when I required. I went down two or three times a year.

The bollards remained. The seacoalers had to find their own way round. The contractor got excavation rights for the sand, as well. Shortly after this work, Amber/Side got involved. Murray Martin forged a relationship with Trevor and Amber began working on the film Seacoal, while Chris Killip developed his photographic project Seacoal for Side.

Note: The photographs were never published or exhibited at the time, although some were shown in the Amber: Film & Photography exhibition at Side in 2002. Mik brought the photographs to Side Gallery in 1987.