Charles March has nurtured an interest in photography since the age of twelve. After leaving school at sixteen, he spent time as an apprentice for Stanley Kubrick, worked as a documentary photographer in Africa and later spent twenty years in the advertising industry photographing campaigns such as Levi’s, Benson & Hedges and ICI. One of March’s pictures was selected for the Pompidou Centre’s permanent exhibition ‘One Hundred Images of Advertising Photography from 1930 – 1990’. Amongst many awards, March received a silver medal for the AFAEP Awards – the highest award at the time to a photographer in the UK. He has exhibited globally and his work is held in a number of private collections.
“The ‘feeling’ of a place is what I am most interested in. The sea and the seascape view, looking out across the horizon, never changes – it is an eternal view looking out to infinity. It is, if you like, a very deep look at the earth and how we see it. The sea is also a boundary, a line, something to cross or not. It is calming, inspiring and often dangerous. The exploration of that in-between space is an important part of this for me, the liminal space between sea and shore. In one sense it is always moving and changing and in another it is constant. It is kind of a no-man’s land, a place of transition. Somewhere that exists one minute and not the next – an invisible boundary. At the same time inviting you in and keeping you out, beckoning and dismissing.”
Although March retired from the advertising world, he maintained a personal passion for taking pictures. Throughout the 1990s he experimented with different techniques and digital camera technology, and in 2002 he conceived the idea of “using the camera as a brush.” March creates his energized photographs through a fluid movement of the camera during exposure. The transient process results in a bold impression or stirring feeling, much like a personal sketch or drawing. In 2012, he publically exhibited his Nature Translated series, which for March represented the antithesis of the precision of high production still life advertising in the 1990s. Nature Translated went on to be exhibited in the State Russian Museum (Marble Palace) in St Petersburg, and the Moscow Photography Biennale 2014 and in 2013 was selected for inclusion in Landmark: The Fields of Photography show at Somerset House, London, curated by William Ewing.
This new body of work marks a departure for March from his abstract photographs of trees and wooded landscapes to the sea. For this series, March focused on just one short stretch of the Atlantic coast off the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. The photographs in this exhibition were all shot here over four years and at different times of year. William Ewing writes in his foreword for the accompanying catalogue: There is great variety in this set of Charles March pictures. They are never entirely abstract: one perceives clearly what is land and what is water. Sometimes the sea seems very benign; sometimes it threatens, like a towering wall about to crash down upon us. Some pictures seem as if glimpsed from the window of a bullet train, the sun glinting off the surface. Disconcerting are one or two pictures with titled horizons, upsetting our most cherished notions of the earth’s fundamental order.”