The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Local boys done good

I would like to promote something from my home town. Now my home town of Rainham in Kent doesn`t have too much going for it. It doesn`t even actually exist as a seperate town to tell the truth having been swallowed up by Gillingham next door. And Gillingham has even less going for it. Why do think I live in Japan?

But absence really does make the heart grow fonder so here are two good things about where I used to live.

One is the connection with Japan. Yes amazingly we are twinned with Ito and Yokosuka in Japan due to a Kentish man (or is that Man of Kent I can never remember which side of the River Medway is which) who arrived here by accident at the beginning of the 15th century and became, for all intents and purposes , a samurai. His name was William Adams and he was the only foreigner to ever raise so high in Japanese society at that inward looking time. In Japan he is known as Muira Anjin (the Pilot of Muira) and is celebrated in the Anjin Matsuri in Ito on the Izu penisular from August 8th to 10th this year and also with the Will Adams festival on September 15th in Gillingham in the UK.

But better than that, I, myself have some connection to Mr. Adams because: not only was William Adams born in Gillingham like me , his birthday is the same day as mine. How`s that for coincidences? Now where`s my samurai sword because I feel a bit of reincarnation coming on.

Secondly another man also from Gillingham (even better actually from Rainham) is Martin Amis. No not the famous author, though I had to write that for the Amazon links (over to the right if you feel like some literatuuuuure) because I want to make a little bit of a living somehow from the click through!

Anyway this other Martin Amis is a talented photographer with awards and exhibitions all over the place. Have a look at his website for some great shots. I especially like the UK seaside ones. All British people will recognise the feeling and images in those photos, they are part of our childhood experiences: the tacky shops of pointless plastics and inflatable aquatics ; the unhealthy air of dayglo hedonism; the littered pebble beach that burnt your feet on the way to rockpool safaris where you always slipped on the bladderwrack and sliced your knee open so that it bled and bled and your parents had to take you for an ice-cream or, better yet, a banana milkshake to cheer you up and where your sister, sitting next to you with dangling feet kicking your shins would complain of the noise your straw made as you sucked desperately at the froth in bottom of the glass.

It was fun to go there, a totally innocent fun of not caring that it looked like shit (or smelt like it too as often as not) or that the food that stained your mouth bright blue was probably killing you. I wonder if kids are spoiled by the experiences they can easily have on exotic holiday these days. Because I suddenly miss those those seaside trips and Martin`s pics bring it all back.

Been showing a few of my black and whites lately and here`s another one from Brighton.

Talk to you later



6 responses

  1. That’s a great photo! I lived in Brighton for a few years and escaped the curse of never leaving. Don’t remember those kids though. Must be new.

    June 27, 2007 at 6:34 am

  2. Thanks Nick. Brighton is an addictive place but you feel your brain dissolving if you spend too long there and start to think that the answer you got wrong in a pub quiz or the “beast lastest little boyfriend” is really the most important or interesting thing in the world. Good to visit nowadays. That pic is over 10 years old by the way I thing 1996 and I am (I hope) a much better photographer now.

    June 27, 2007 at 1:00 pm

  3. That photo seems like it comes from the mods and rockers era. Because of the B & W I suppose but it has that feeling.
    It’s beautiful because of the way the kids are acting (or reacting) infront of the camera; one very forthrightly sticking his neck out and the other sat well back. Get some more of the oldies up here as well as those rainy day shots please.

    June 28, 2007 at 12:36 pm

  4. The composition is nice. 🙂

    July 6, 2007 at 12:07 pm

  5. Six months down the line….and I’ve finally seen this. Thanks Damon, hope you are well!

    January 22, 2008 at 10:45 am

  6. Pingback: Anjin San | sungypsy blog

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