A Secret Utopia

Photographer, Lucy Ridgard captures a summer of dance, trance and spirituality in a secret utopia on the English east coast

Words by Lucy Ridgard

Hidden on the English east coast is a piece of magic: windswept white gold under limitless sky, lit up at night by shooting stars. But you won’t find it: it’s a secret utopia for locals and visiting seals.

After WW2, it was a campsite for mothers and children; then a hippie hideout until the 90s when some ravers with sound systems stumbled on a new lush scene to free party into the night.

For 25 years, the friends have returned for 6 summer weeks of dance, trance and spirituality, taking their kids and fragments of home – armchairs, sofas, a mantelpiece – to cut loose and set up a brief escape from the binds of millennial hell.

A46

Photographer, Nicholas Priest documents a literal and metaphorical journey along the England A road

Words by Nicholas Priest

I have seen a lot of the A46 within my 31 years; Burton Farm tip, where myself and my Dad would take trips at the weekend with hedge cuttings and unwanted trinkets to dispose of and give to the Hospice shop. Alcester to Coventry is where my Dad would drive me to football games, and I now drive myself up and down this part of the A46 to in and around Stratford, still playing football. My Dad drove up and down the A46 as a national sales man for different companies and I will never forget the orange lollies from Little Chefs that he would bring home and the small BP albums that we used to collect. Towards Coventry I remember taking a bus with my Mum as a young boy to get a cyst removed as my Dad was working away and we only had one car. Warwick Hospital is just off the A46, where I have visited for twisted ankles, getting wisdom teeth removed and more recently with my Mum’s Mum passing away.

About 8 years ago my parents moved from Stratford Upon Avon, where I had grown up with my sister and moved down the A46 to Bidford on Avon, we helped them move and I have lived in the house a few times; after university and after a break up with a girlfriend. I remember working with adults with learning disabilities, and I was driving with my ex-girlfriend in the car and was in a consistent mood and mind set of overthinking, which led me to overthinking whilst driving and I pulled out of a junction at Longbridge island. Myself and my girlfriend at the time where fine, but this lead me take a step back within my life and leave that job to seek and get help for this over thinking. I got counselling and went on antidepressants and close to a year later I had pushed and made myself the person I am now.

I teach photography at the College in Stratford where I was first taught and grew my love for photography, I live in a house in Broadway with my girlfriend and my overthinking is near but gone. I now drive to just see my Mum in Bidford as we lost my Dad a few years ago in a freak accident, were we also lost our family Dog in the same accident. I visit my Mum and her new dog regularly and my Mum comes to watch me play football for a local village team – Welford that my Uncle helps to run.

Relationships are a journey, whether it is good or bad memories, we change, places change, family and friends change, live changes. From my journey a young boy to where I am today.

Visiting the A46; I followed these memories to where I knew, stopping and walking and documenting what I remember and what has changed. This went up to and just passed Coventry. I then drove where I didn’t know and that was from Coventry to Grimsby and Cleethorpes. Documenting other memories and what could have been mine if I lived close to that area of the A46. As You move from Twkesbury all the way up to Grimsby and Cleethorpes more of the nation voted out in the recent Brexit vote. I wanted to try and capture this and document what and who I found to show this change that is happening, documenting a portrait of Britain and portraying the real people and the roads and journey we take. 

Photographers document journeys, from Robert Franks Americans, to William Eggleston and Alec Soth documenting their own towns and states, and, more recently, Mark Power who published several books on the ‘American Dream’. This is my road trip, journey and ‘American Dream’.

As a publisher and Community Interest Company, TRIP is dedicated to showcasing unconventional stories that may otherwise be overlooked. We aim to give a platform to the unseen and a microphone to the ignored. Expression is a right and should not be confined to those that can afford to work for free; which is why we strive to support a diverse range of creatives in their work, commissioning exciting projects and creatives to visualize them.
 

Founded as a magazine in 2013 by photographer, Dean Davies, TRIP was born from a desire to provide opportunity and exposure for image-makers across multiple platforms and medias. With a focus on people and place, in 5 years TRIP gained a loyal readership, and became known for its honest image output and representation of the underrepresented, featuring over 800 image-makers from across the world through a website, 5 magazines and 3 free zines.
 

As TRIP C.I.C. we are not interested in profiting from the activities of the organization, and re-invest all income back in to consecutive publishing projects.
 

Directors:
Dean Davies
Alfie Allen
 

For all enquiries: trip@trippublishing.co.uk.