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Photographer on the edge

By Ruth Slavid
The decision for Britain to leave the EU has focused attention on what it means to be British. And one of the things that most defines us, for good or bad, is that we are an island nation. So a project by photographer Quintin Lake, started well before the referendum, has a particular resonance.

Quintin, whose work has featured here before, has set himself the task of walking around the coast of Britain. On 17 April, he set off from St Paul’s Cathedral in London, walking along the Thames estuary – and will return along the opposite bank. But he is nowhere near achieving that goal, having calculated that the entire project will take him five years. That is a long time, given that it is possible to do the entire route in about six months.

This is not because Quintin is slow, although his 20-40km per day is less than the rapid clip that some achieve – but he does need time to take photos. It is because he is walking in bursts, interspersed with his other commitments and work, walking in total for two to three months a year.

All of the photos are beautifully composed. Many are free of people or much trace of human existence, but the photos shown here, of Dungeness on the left and the Channel Tunnel ventilation facility on the right, show how much impact we have had on the edge of our country as well as elsewhere. They provide an equally lovely and perhaps a more realistic portrayal of this island where no area is entirely free of human intervention.

Read more about Quintin Lake’s project, The Perimeter, at

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