2.2.3 Suffolk Edges 2: Orford

Orford in Suffolk, East Anglia is a very old town surrounded by Orford marshes, dependent partly on the fishing industry. Orford Ness – reached by ferry – is a very unstable spit of land and shingle with unique wildlife, currently under threat of disappearing into the sea. It used to be a defence and nuclear weapons research place and is still linked to the nuclear industry. As a National Trust property with EU funding, it has been developed as a popular day trip destination.

Orford is ‘on the edge’ in a number of ways:

  • the extreme vulnerability to the encroachment of the sea has halved the land originally occupied by Orford Marshes and Orford Ness – currently generally held at bay with barriers and groynes, but threatened in the longer term by global warming.
  • Orford Ness was an important national defence site during World War 1 and 2. More recently it has housed a nuclear weapons research facility.
  • there are serious tensions in relation to Brexit between the local hard Brexiteer fishing industry and the more EU-supporting tourist industry and environmental agencies.

The area is really fascinating for its ‘tourism of decay’. I produced three photo series on Orford from walks in September – October 2018:

  • Orford Marshes and Estuary: This was my first set of experiments with Black and White and Silver FX from a walk in September 2018.
  • ‘A Very British Day Out’ a draft colour photobook of Orford Ness and Orford Quay around Brexit, Britishness and ‘tourism of decay’.
  • Orford Ness Black and White: black and white images from a slightly different selection of the series.

But the images from Orford Ness need me to get an official photographer’s pass to use commercially – something I am hoping to do for Assignment 5.

Orford Marshes and Estuary

A series of textural landscapes processed in Lightroom and Silver FX Pro as colour, black and white, tinted, split colour and vintage effect (after the style of East Anglia photographer Peter Emerson). Influences: Peter Emerson. Dutch landscape and watercolour. Can I get the skies to come over the top?

Orford Marshes lie along a public footpath from Orford Quay along the side of the Ore Estuary. It is quite a desolate, exposed place along the inland edge opposite the National Trust Reserve of Orford Ness. In this series of images I was interested in how I could develop interesting textural photographs in colour, monochrome and split tone through digital processing in Lightroom and Silver FX. I was particularly interested in exploring the range of traditional film photography styles in AnalogPro and how these affected the reading of the image.

Antique Plate images

This landscape reminds me very much of the work of Peter Henry Emerson. The images I find most interesting are those I developed in Silver FX antique plate filter. The filter needs quite a lot of adjustment, but through reducing the white vignette, altering its centre point and then adding control points to darken and add contrast and structure on focal points to guide the eye in, some interesting ‘nostalgia images’ can be created from quite ordinary colour photos.

Tonal monochrome and colourisation

Other potential treatments In Silver FX are tonal tinted and colourised images.

The middle landscape image was my first sale – all of 0.25c – to someone from Isleham in Suffolk. I could explore this style more for these images.

For the images so far accepted as stock photos on Shutterstock see Shuttertock Orford Marshes gallery. Feature image was my first ever Shutterstock sale – all of 0.25c – to someone from Isleham in Suffolk.

Orford Quay and Orford Ness

My first set of photos of Orford Quay have been accepted as editorial stock images on Shutterstock: SeeShutterstock: Orford Quay

!!project in process exploring narrative options as on-line gallery, photobook and slideshow.

I have produced the first draft of a colour photobook: A Very British Day Out on Orford Quay and Ness uploaded to Adobe cloud.


See: Orford in Colour – unfortunately the pdf is converted to single page view by Worpdress. To see spread layout – for juxtapositions and meaning – download pdf and open in Acrobat with view set to 2 page.

This set of photographs of Orford Ness is currently being developed, but need permission from National Trust to publish commercially.

I also started to work on a black and white series with a rather more bleak and ominous feel that could potentially be a photo slideshow, together with sound effects of low flying aircraft, clanking metal, drip echoes and voices that I recorded on site.

But before going further I need to apply for a professional photographer’s permit from the National Trust before I can publish or distribute commercially eg on Shutterstock or photography websites.