Sea Change

'Sea Change' is a study of the tides round the coast of Britain. The views in each diptych are taken from identical positions at low tide and high tide, usually 6 or 18 hours apart.

I am interested in showing how landscape changes over time through natural processes and cycles. The camera that observes low and high tide side by side enables us to observe simultaneously two moments in time, two states of nature.

Recent landscape photography often focuses on human shaping (and reshaping) of the environment - urbanisation, globalisation, pollution. Even when critical and committed, this approach can emphasise, even glamorise, humankind's power over nature. I'm interested in rediscovering nature's own powers: the elemental forces and processes that underlie and shape the planet. 

The tides are one of these great natural cycles. I hope these photographs will stimulate people's awareness of natural change, of landscape as dynamic process rather than static image. Attending to earth's rhythms can help us to reconnect with the fundamentals of our planet, which we ignore at our peril. 

'Sea Change' also comments on climate change. The tide floods in and quickly recedes again, but rising sea levels will flood our shores and not recede for thousands or millions of years. Many of the views in these pictures may have disappeared in 100 years' time.

— Michael Marten

Editor's note: 

We're thrilled that Michael Marten brought his work to be reviewed by many international photography experts, gallerists, museum curators, and others, at Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2011 — that generated more great results for him, too.