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John Perriment

Portrait Of A Place

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When you shoot a landscape in many ways it's like taking a portrait of a person. You can choose to show either its good side or its bad side, capture its mood, portray its personality and include enough visual clues to tell the viewer a bit about what goes on there. Rather than just aim to capture a beautiful scene, why not try to make your subject more interesting by attempting to show its true character, by taking a portrait of the place?

A couple of years ago I spent a week exploring some of the magnificent coastline of North Yorkshire. I could have concentrated solely on well known beauty spots such as Robin Hood's Bay, Runswick Bay and Staithes; goodness knows, there's enough to choose from in that part of the World! However, it is rare to find a flawless beauty, either human or topographical. If you want to produce more than just a few superficial snaps you really need to get to know your subject, warts and all.

It's perhaps unfair to liken Skinningrove to a wart, it has in fact got a rather attractive beach beyond the working harbour and I could have focused on the golden sand and shimmering ocean to show its best side. That may well have produced a picture that Skillingdale, if it was a person, would be happy to hang on its wall. But that wouldn't portray the real Skinningrove, reflect its personality or tell us very much about it at all.

This is more like the true Skinningrove, an honest, hard working Skinningrove that doesn't look its best when it's first got out of bed and hasn't yet had time to tidy itself up. The real Skinningrove that its true friends know and love, which more than makes up for its untidy appearance with genuine warmth and unpretentious charm.


Yes, Skinningrove has avoided the tourism makeover quite admirably and proudly remains a working class fishing village, warts and all.

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  1. Stephen's Avatar
    You took the words from my mouth John, there is an honesty about this place which I find endearing. There are no concessions for the visitors, what you see is what you get. Its a place I have never visited, perhaps I should.
  2. John Perriment's Avatar
    Hi Stephen,

    I can thoroughly recommend Skillingdale as an interesting location on that part of the coast, along with Port Mulgrave - just a few miles from Staithes but far less frequented and in a different world so far as tourism is concerned!
  3. dougdanter's Avatar
    John, I agree with your commentary completely. Whenever we travel, we always take the lesser beaten tourist path just to experience the true feel of the people & their environment. Cities & attractive locations (the beauty) are only one part (often the lesser) of the whole scene (including the warts). We return home richer for the experience.

    Regards, Doug
  4. Stephen's Avatar
    John, I've searched for Skillingdale on Googlemaps and I draw a blank, however Skinningrove seems a likely candidate. Are they the same place?

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&so...h&z=18&layer=t
  5. John Perriment's Avatar
    Woops! Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, I say. You are indeed correct, Stephen, it is Skinningrove. Don't know how I came to re-invent it, but thanks for pointing this out. Now I have ammendments to make to my blog..... and my personal website!