Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

140 pp sewn / 210 x 230mm

Kiss Me Quick

124 pp sewn / 210 x 230mm

Hardcover Book Set in a Slipcase

First Edition of 150

ISBN 978-1-7398397-1-0

Price: £40.00 + PP

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This companion book set explores the nostalgia of the English seaside throughout the seasons, from the somber beauty of winter months to its restored splendour in the glorious days of summer.

There is a melancholy about the English seaside in winter. No matter what Mother Nature throws at it, there is a resilience that enables it to resurrect its full magnificence in summer months.

It goes into hibernation, it falls into slumber and sleeps dormant like a perennial plant, just to flourish when the sun and warmth come back. Like trees that are bare and stark in winter. But in the summer they become beautiful, vibrant and everything we love about them.

What started as a pure fascination and attraction turned into a lifelong passion. There isn't any other place I would rather be than a beach. Though I enjoy the peaceful and quiet winter time most, I find the bright and sunny weather as captivating as the bleak and gloomy days. Therefore, I felt I needed to capture both sides of the English seaside and separate them into two books that complement each other.

Wish You Were Here

Foreword by Tony Worobiec

Working in monochrome, rather than employ her highly distinctive muted colours, the mood and the lighting of this new work almost calls to mind the Film Noir tradition, but without the fatalism and menace. It is a change from much of the work we associate with her, but most importantly it shows that as a working artist Vanda refuses to be defined by a single genre.

Tony Worobiec

A day out on the beach? In January? You must be joking!

This is a reaction I quite often hear when getting ready for a trip to the wind-swept seaside on a freezing cold winter morning. It's not for everybody; however, for me, embracing the weather and heading out no matter the conditions have an alluring charm.

There is a melancholy about coastal towns out of season. They are like abandoned playgrounds, waiting in hope that their silence will yet again be broken by the happy sounds of music and laughter. It is within this nostalgic feeling of silence and solitude that I find solace. To me, there is nothing better than a bracing walk along a deserted promenade on a bleak, gloomy morning with wintry winds blasting across the sea. The sense of desolation devoid of any distractions and noise, apart from waves crashing against the shore is what drives me to keep going back. It is a life-affirming affair, filled with comfort and deep quiet.

This is not the first book to feature the British coast, but what I especially enjoyed were the many images showing a measured observational irony. Vanda clearly has a cultured sense of humour which is why she included such iconic images as “Keep a Clear Head”, and “Award Bathing Beach”. Even those who are not especially drawn to photography will find this publication of genuine interest.

Tony Worobiec
Kiss Me Quick Cover

Kiss Me Quick

Foreword by Will Cheung

When I think seaside what springs to my mind is the not-so-intoxicating odour of hot dogs and candy floss, brash gaudy colours and people having fun, regardless of Britain’s unpredictable and often inclement summers. Vanda’s pictures are the absolute opposite of my vision of Britain’s seaside and, as such, they are a delight. Compositions are clean and minimal yet carefully considered with every element playing its part and the bright, yet delicate, colour palette harmonises with the subject beautifully.

Will Cheung

When the summer, as we optimistically like to call it, finally arrives, the English coast goes through a dramatic transformation. It comes alive with holidaymakers doggedly erecting their windbreaks, bracing against the fresh sea breeze. Wrestling with parasols and highly uncomfortable deckchairs, determined to catch every attainable ray of sunshine, before it turns into a torrential rain. Huddling together outside their beach huts, wrapped up warm, with a nice cup of tea and a cake, ready for rain or shine. Decidedly stripping into their swimsuits at any sign of brief sunshine, brave or foolish enough to have a swim in the sea that is rarely warm.

For many, beach holidays on the English seaside evoke the nostalgia of childhood memories: pretty rows of colourful beach huts, the feeling of sand between the toes, dipping your feet in the sun-warmed waves, the smell and taste of the salty air, the fresh breeze in your hair, understanding the real meaning of “sand” in a “sandwich” and a cheeky seagull thrown in for entertainment.

For me, these are the childhood memories I would have loved to have. As I wasn’t so lucky to grow up in England, I am making up for it now. I am building those memories with every trip, grateful for being able to discover what a fantastic place the English seaside is – full of character, charm, eccentricities and most of all Englishness. Despite being often accused of being tatty, grey, windswept and cold.

“Kiss Me Quick” is a joyful collection of pictures that takes a gloriously unique look at Britain’s seaside and it is thoroughly inspiring too. My own photography tends to be contrast, grit and bold colours and seeing Vanda’s images here has inspired me to take a different view, at least occasionally. I am sure her photography will inspire many others too.

Enjoy her work, I know I did.

Will Cheung