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The Shipping Forecast - Special Portfolio Edition

The Shipping Forecast - Special Portfolio Edition

by Mark Power

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Thirty years ago, Mark Power embarked on a journey to photograph the thirty-one sea areas around the coasts of the British Isles to create a visual representation of the shipping forecast. For nearly 100 years, the forecast has been broadcast four times a day by BBC radio and has seeped into the British public consciousness—it is a constant in an ever-changing world. Power’s book, The Shipping Forecast was originally published in 1996 and this newly edited, revised and much-expanded edition includes over 100 previously unpublished photographs.

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More about this book

The shipping forecast covers the waters of Western Europe and separates them into thirty-one sea areas from Trafalgar to Southeast Iceland, and from Sole to German Bight. Over a period of four years Power photographed all of them, searching for visual metaphors of the esoteric language of the forecast’s spoken words and its poetic and mantra-like delivery. Each black and white photograph is captioned with the 0600hr forecast on the day they were taken, creating a correlation between image and text. Never intended as a document, the photographs represent a lyrical impression of each place Power encountered.

The shipping forecast had been part of Power’s childhood, broadcast from a mahogany gramophone in the living room. However, the project was originally inspired by a tea towel map of the shipping forecast sea areas purchased in Great Yarmouth in 1990—the first time he had seen the actual locations of the mythical Dogger, Fisher, German Bight and the rest. When he began the project, finances were tight and the prospect of ever finishing appeared unlikely. However, three years into the project he won the Mosaique Prize for European photography which allowed him to complete his journey, produce an exhibition and help to fund his first book. He began to revisit the project during lockdown in 2020, rediscovering photographs which, in retrospect, he believed had merit. Power began the task of scanning over 500 negatives to begin the process of re-editing and re-sequencing the journey he made thirty years previous into this new and expanded edition of The Shipping Forecast.

About special editions

Please note, Special Editions are not processed through our warehouse but individually condition checked and packaged by hand to avoid any damage. As a result, please allow extra time for your Special Edition to arrive. We will keep you updated on the progress of your order and we can be contacted on with any queries.

Published January 2023
Text by Mark Power and David Chandler
250 x 310 240 pages
163 duotone images
ISBN 978-1-910401-85-9

Handmade, clothbound and foil debossed box, with a signed book and six 12” x 9.5″ prints, all signed, dated and numbered by Mark Power.

Editions of 40 (Print 1 to 5)
The 6th print comes in an edition of just 20 and is unique to the Portfolio edition.

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  • Mark Power (B.1959) studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic but turned to photography soon afterwards. His work has been seen in numerous galleries and museums across the world, and is held in several collections, including the Arts Council of England, the British Council, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, and Marrakech Museum of Photography and Visual Art. Power joined Magnum Photos as a Nominee in 2002, and became a full Member in 2007. He lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England.

  • ‘The shipping forecast, of course, exists to save lives. It warns those at sea, or about to put to sea, of approaching storms. But for the majority of us, in Britain at least, its’ strange, rhythmic language is unashamedly romantic and oddly reassuring, despite forming an image of an island nation perpetually buffeted by wind and waves.’

    ‘The sea and sky alone are brooding presences in Power’s work. Spare landless images from the pelagic areas open and close the sequence in this book where sea and sky come together in a dense and overbearing exchange. The sea and sky are the shipping forecast’s essential elements and in Power’s pictures they seem to cast a spell over what takes place ashore. For here, on the land, in picture after picture, life itself appears to have lost its coordinates, movements are disjointed and frenetic, people wander aimlessly or gather in trancelike formation, lonely gazes stare out towards blank horizons.’

    - Mark Power