top of page
logo1.png
Parking_LANDSCAPE_4x5-34_edited_edited.png

PHOTO ESSAY

TAKE A BREAK

A photographic journey of community and nostalgia in British holiday parks.

PERCEPTIONS

How do you find calm amdist the daily chaos of everyday life? In an online world of doomscrolling and oversharing, is it possible to not become creatively uninspired and overwhelmed with the pressure to create? This was how I felt before starting this project: creatively burnt out and struggling to develop ideas beyond a couple of images so I did what this project says on the tin and I took a break.

 

My previous commutes to work included the daily battle for survival on the London Underground and enduring the tedious crawl of traffic jams but it’s no surprise that driving through the beautiful landscapes of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders takes the top spot for fun. Whether it is meandering past a reservoir as the early spring sun seaps through the newly blossoming trees or climbing over the border point as snow begins to softly settle on the signposts, this journey and the stops along the way were anything but monotonous.

Parking_SQUARE-48.jpg

///spirit.hilltop.automate
55.354369,-2.477529

___jugs.rooting.cyber.jpg

///jugs.rooting.cyber
55.355285,-2.47995

PASTEL PERFECTION

For those of us who spent their childhood summers in these seaside havens, the idea of a caravan site represents a nostalgic memory of those (occasionally) sunny holidays. These charming getaway destinations have a rich history of offering us all a friendly way to enjoy picturesque coastlines but, despite the seasonal tourist popularity, the social fabric of these communities is rich, with residents forming connections that go far beyond the temporary nature of their stay.

 

Although nostalgia plays a role as we view these parks through rose-tinted glasses, there is also a perception, often perpetuated by sensationalised photography and media, that the vibrant communities that thrive within these parks are a relic of the past but it is clear that these communities don't just still exist but go beyond that: they are thriving.

 

Pristine fences, spotless decking, and flowerbeds so immaculately cared for that even Alan Titchmarsh would blush. Walking around it feels impossible to focus on negative aspects when love and care is so clearly on display.

24th October d.jpg

ENERGAS II
July2023

GAS CANISTER I
June 2023

GAS CANISTER III
August 2023

PINKS AND GREENS
July 2023

GARDEN 
July 2023

COLOUR

It's at this point that I start to realise how quickly I have become a caravan park advocate. The hypnotic orange glow of the ever-present gas bottles has become a calming comfort. The soft, pastel colours gently reflect the warmth of long summer days. The carefully curated flower displays are bursting with life and colour. It's easy to see why holiday resort photographers have been drawn to the illuminating vibrancy of colour.

It would be disingenuous though to ignore the rougher elements that are in many of the sites I visited. The aim of this project isn't to show caravan parks as perfect paradises but to combat those stereotypes that only focus on areas that require improvement. An article earlier this year described one site as "a world largely forgotten to the past" yet the vibrant image to the left is from that park. 
 

RUBBISH AND A BIN
July 2023

THREES A CROWD
July 2023

GAS CANISTER II
July 2023

the question

So did I figure out whether I created a love letter or documentation? I don't think Parked could be classed as either.

It's easy for a project like Parked to fall into pre-existing stereotypes and categorise all sites as either a pastel-perfect paradise or the dingy depths of disrepair, but the reality is that nuance is needed to understand how these sites fit into contemporary British culture. This version of the Parked project is a starting point for something new: a documentation of seaside and holiday culture but also a creation of the antithesis to the melancholic negative stereotypes that surround these spaces.

Although it's an end to this chapter, it's not a goodbye to these beautiful holiday homes. I will be back to immerse myself in more pastel vibrancy again soon.

PASTEL TRIO
July 2023

Words and images by
SCOTT STEVENS

bottom of page