I find Dungeness in Kent is one of those locations that’s perfect for the photographer. It has an atmospheric quality that’s hard to quantify somehow. When you first drive into Dungeness, it mainly looks light a wide bleak landscape with little to focus the attention apart from the nuclear power station of course which does tend to visually slap you in the face. However, it’s a fairly ugly building which you are not allowed to photograph in any case.
So what does Dungeness have to offer? Well firstly, it is Europe’s largest shingle beach which is home to many rare plants and wild flowers. It’s an environment of big skies and wide spaces. The beauty of Dungeness though is the feel of abandonment. There are many old weathered fishing boats laying around just waiting to add foreground interest to your seascapes. Slowly collapsing fishing huts add to the general feel of decay. They make fine subjects in their own right either as close-up subjects or as part of a wider seascape. Add a whole heap of rusting fishing equipment such as winches and railway tracks and there’s enough photographic interest to keep most photographers happy for a good part of the day.
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I think Dungeness is the sort of location that’s good in most weather conditions. If you have cloudy, dark, brooding skies, go for a seascape with one of the wrecks as the focal point. Perhaps convert the image to black and white. If the light’s really flat there are loads of close-up subjects to choose from. If the sun is low in the sky, a big seascape featuring possibly the railway tracks leading to one of the wrecks by the sea in the background will work well.
Many of the houses on Dungeness started life as old railway carriages. These somewhat unconventional pieces of architecture sprung up before planning permission was a thing. I avoid photographing the resident’s homes because they do tend to value their privacy. The most well known resident of Dungeness was the famous film director Derek Jarmen.
I think though that Dungeness’s biggest claim to fame is that it’s a fantastic location for photography. Indeed many film and fashion crews make their way to this wild atmospheric location on the Kent coast. Why not give it a try yourself?