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After five years of looking closely through his camera at a small beach, David Batchelder no longer sees the shores as we know them. His vision now is of a private reality within the tideland. In Tideland, Batchelder invites you to join him in his visual journey into a tideland like none that has yet been photographed.

Batchelder uses the camera, not to picture more clearly that which we already know, but to discover and capture the unsung beauty of our land. He shares with us an inexplicable, ambiguous, imaginative and odd world of magical visions – landscapes, spaces, creatures and curious objects, disfigured and eroded by the ocean. Although Batchelder uses digital processes, his approach to creative camera work has its origin very much in the era of film, using a digital camera and Photoshop as one would have used a film camera and a darkroom.

David Campany’s essay introduces Batchelder’s tideland world where the viewer’s imagination and memory take over and, you too, leave the beach as you now know it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789053308561
Publisher: Schilt Publishing
Publication date: 10/15/2015
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 12.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

In the 1960s, David Batchelder received an MA and MFA in photography from the University of Iowa studying under John Schulze. He taught photography at Smith College, Amherst College, Boston University, Dartmouth State College, and Plymouth State College. His early photographs were exhibited widely, published in Aperture magazine, and can be admired in the following collections: Addison Gallery of American Art, Fogg Museum, George Eastman House, Michigan Institute of Technology, Smith College, Bowdoin College, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Hood Museum, and Dartmouth College. Batchelder did not start making creative photographs until 1984. Ninety photographs from Tideland were exhibited at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston, South Carolina in 2014.

David Campany is a writer, curator and artist, working mainly with photography.

David’s books include The Open Road: photographic road trips across America (2014), Walker Evans: the magazine work (2014), Gasoline (2013), Jeff Wall: Picture for Women (2010), Photography and Cinema (2008) and Art and Photography (2003). He also writes for Frieze, Aperture, Art Review, FOAM, Source, Photoworks and Tate magazine.

Recent curatorial projects include Lewis Baltz: Common Objects (Le Bal, Paris 2014), Walker Evans: magazine work (Foto Museum Antwerp 2014), Victor Burgin: A Sense of Place (AmbikaP3 London, 2013), Mark Neville: Deeds Not Words (The Photographers’ Gallery London, 2013) and Anonymes: Unnamed America in Photography and Film (Le Bal Paris, 2010).

David has a Phd and teaches at the University of Westminster, London.

For his writing, David has received the ICP Infinity Award, the Kraszna-Krauss Book Award, a Deutscher Fotobuchpreis, and the Royal Photographic Society’s award for writing.


I had not been on the beach long before I started seeing curious things. First it was shell fragments. They looked as if the were heads of strange animals- fish, birds, reptiles. They were crying out to me. More and more I was drawn to the beach. The more times I came to the beach, I saw even more things that were odder and odder. Ambiguous spaces; ambiguous objects. At times it was if I were seeing the beach from space. At other times I was seeing very un-beach like places. Beasts, creatures, and angels appeared. I was as if, as Alice, I had fallen through to another world- a world on the beach, but not the beach I thought I knew. Each day the wind and tide would change my beach world into yet another even odder landscape. Storms created worlds beyond belief filled with creatures that I came to see as benevolent.

Seeing such things in my old age worried me. Perhaps I was hallucinating, having delirious moments. Was this the onset of my loosing my grip? These trips on the beach seemed to be more than the mere flights of fancy I have often taken. When I am on a beach, I am traveling so far out from the people on the beach that are all around me- playing boccie, sun bathing, building sand castles, that I am in another world. Soon, though, I became comfortable with this odd beach world and began embracing it. Even though it was certainly odd, it was inviting. Occasionally I found my self taking flight- shape shifting into a birdlike form- flying through and high over the beach, seeing new and curious landscapes and objects. I knew I was not hallucinating as I was able to take pictures of what I was seeing on these frequent adventuresome visual travels.

The beach I now travel and see and picture is not at all what I would have conceived had I set out to make photographs of a beach. My beach is every so more and more wondrous and enthralling, that I wonder more and more just what is going on with these travels and the images from my travels. Where do these landscapes, flowers, mountains, etc. come from? The beach of our everyday casual looking is rather baron- a mundane world but for its flatness and expanse. The beach I am encountering is certainly something from another world. People who have seen the beach photographs have said they too are now seeing odd things on beaches. Could there be the other world in all we think we know and believe we are seeing?

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