Marcus Drinkwater (b. 1992, Canterbury, Kent) received his BA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication and has been working as a press photographer in the London area for the last two years of his degree to help cover tuitions fees. Drinkwater is interested in the concept of contemporary British community and society, and his images have been exhibited nationally and featured in publications around the world including the BBC, The Telegraph, Soccerbible, Port Magazine and Trip Magazine. In 2014 he was awarded as part of the University of the Arts London’s “Best Emerging Creatives.”
The Garden started when I moved back to my hometown of Whitstable, Kent. It was a culture shock as I was living, working and studying in London over the last three years. The energy and intensity contrasted dramatically with the fairly traditional English seaside town, I grew up in, and never particularly felt at home at. Kent is an interesting place with an interesting history; it is on the south-east coast that faces France so it is the gateway to Europe though I think it would be fair to say it is a typically “English” place. Dover, with its iconic white cliffs seen as both a bastion of freedom and a symbolic wall of defiance keeping out invaders, is oddly 93% British considering its close proximity to the continent.
In the early 19th century it enjoyed great prosperity in areas such as tourism in places like Margate, then the “package holiday” was introduced in the 1950s post-war holiday boom and millions decided to take their vacation in places like Spain and Greece. The British tourism market tried to react but it eventually declined and with it, the towns deaerated. Many of Kents seaside towns sit in a strange purgatory between the past and present and have struggled over the years to boost tourism again with little success. People say Britain is changing fast. Political landscapes shift and the gap spanning the affluent and impoverished widens. Kent voted to leave the European Union 59% in favour of severing its long forged ties with the continent and committing itself to going it alone.
The project began as a way for me to cope with finishing my studies and trying to understand the place I grew up, whereas before seemed mundane and monotonous, moving away and then returning gave me a fresh perspective. It is also a place that is changing so rapidly, I wanted to understand why and photography is one of the greatest tools for exploration. I have always used my camera as a way to try and understand the world, it forces you to stop and pay attention, to be nosey and enquire. I take my camera all over the county, I photograph places that are engrained in English social custom such as the pub or the beach. As a people, we are renowned for being polite and reserved, but at places where we get together to socialise it becomes a kind of brilliant vulgarity. People let here hair down and their eccentricities are on show, they are places that are rarely documented as they are a kind of an escape from everyday life.
I have always used photography as a way to explore the world. As a press photographer I was covering newsworthy events, such as protests, but I found this never really caught my imagination, what really interests me is everyday life. You can find amazing moments in the most mundane situations if you learn to observe. I interact very little, if at all, with my subjects which goes against my normal method of working. If I am honest I don’t want to interact with them at all, as I don’t want this to influence them in any way.
To view more of Marcus’ work, please visit his website.