top of page
  • Writer's pictureAndy Brown

The Uniqueness of the English Seaside and the Quirky Characters that inhabit it.

Part Two of Two: The Lady and Her Classic Cars (and more Beach Huts)

In my last post, I talked about the changing face of a particularly English seaside town as it slowly transforms from a quiet retirement enclave in the winter with swarms of tourists seeking a cheap holiday in summertime to an upmarket getaway for well-heeled people unable to holiday abroad. Or so it seems, because deeply embedded in the area are still many eccentric individuals, like the owner of the car below.

A beautiful Blue VW Coupe from the 1970's with bright red oxide paint fighting the rust on a headlight
VW Karmann Ghia in need of a little TLC

This svelte coupe had caught my eye as a lover of old things and a firm believer that todays cars are ugly by comparison with those of the past. But this beautiful car clearly has some issues with rust as the bright red oxide paint surrounding the offside headlamp shows. It looks almost as if it has been in a fight and is developing a bruise as a result. Nonetheless, it is clearly a treasured possession for the owner, perhaps just in need of a little restoration before it can hit the road again in style. The same could not be said for the car below, also a VW of the type known as a Fastback.

Badly rusted VW Fastback Type
VW Fastback Type 3 in need of more than TLC

The VW Fastback or Type 3 to give it the correct designation was the equivalent of an estate car from the 1960's and seventies. From memory, the original Beetle was Type 1, the Camper Type 2, so these became Type 3. This particular example does indeed look rather decrepit on first examination as mentioned in my last post. but the very firm notice placed in full view on the car's dashboard refuting that notion definitely caught my eye. In fact this was the first car that caught my attention and I had just completed taking my shots and was looking at the one parked in the drive when as if by magic the owner arrived complete with shopping bags. A tall woman with greying hair, she was polite but curious, so I explained my interest in her cars and she was gracious about allowing them to be photographed. So I did, as seen above and went on my merry way photographing the various beach huts and other places of interest.

However, almost immediately, the thought came into my mind that she would make a really good image posed next to one of her cars and that would tell a story about both her and her car. So, later when I had gathered up enough courage, I went back and knocked on her door again. And as I had guessed she was happy to pose for the camera with her little coupe. She stood tall with quizzical gaze and I feel the image is a good one that describes her and the car very well.

Woman stood next to her pride and joy, a slightly rusty VW  Karmann Ghia
Proud owner with her treasured car

I hope she won't mind If I add that she is almost certainly a Transgender woman, something that for me just adds to the fascination. Who is she and what do the cars represent, escape? or a challenge to the relentless conformity of the area which at least on the surface appears very 'Little Britain' Whatever the answers to those questions, currently both unasked and unanswered, she certainly makes a striking subject for the camera.

And that brings us back on to Beach Huts, now in glorious colour... There's a story there too, but that is firmly the subject of another Blog! Just for now, here are three of the many beach huts braving the fierce winds along Sutton-on-Sea's promenade. Those winds have left their marks as has the salt spray from winter gales and two of the huts have a decidedly shabby appearance. One is even for sale. The third however has been recently painted in red and white, almost reminiscent of a Punch and Judy show. I have put the three together, because for me they work well as a triptych.

Weatherbeaten Beach Hut
Beach Hut #2
Freshly Painted Beach Hut
Beach Hut #1
Beach Hut For Sales
Beach Hut #3

All these sets of images were taken using my Bronica ETRS, my medium-format film camera which I am very pleased with, bridging the quality gap between 35mm and large format, yet still having that unmistakable filmic look. Film Stock was Kodak Portra 400, lab-developed, scanned on my Epson V850 with Silverfast Software and converted using a wonderful little plug-in called Negative Lab Pro. I will be making selected images available in my store, but be there will be few of each available to purchase. As ever thanks for reading, liking or commenting and see you in the next one!


bottom of page