Posted on August 21, 2013
A beachside photography exhibition entitled Go Gylly Go will be revealed on Gylly beach this month. The exhibition, funded by Falmouth University, depicts the year-long documentation of Nippers from Gylly Surf Life Saving and Triathlon Club.
Karl Phillips, Associate Dean at Falmouth University, began taking pictures for the club’s Facebook page after his children joined, and the parents of club members liked the photos so much that he was asked to start taking photos at a variety of competitions.
Karl soon realised the potential for a research project, and began to take photographs with the intention of finding out about the youngsters perceptions of themselves as athletes. This coincided well with the London 2012 Olympics, held at the time of the project.
Blown away by the ability of the club members, Karl wanted to capture their athleticism in order to enable the children to see themselves on a level with successful athletes, portraying them in the same way through his photography.
Following the activities of the club for a year, Karl documented a number of training sessions, competitions and events including The Cornish Surf Life Saving Nipper Champs 2012 at Carbis Bay, the Endless Summer Swim at Gyllyngvase and the British Life Saving Sport Surf Championships at Portreath, and with the support of Falmouth University his research project became a reality.
The aim of the research was to explore the notion that strong athletic representations can reflect positively in performance and self-perception. This includes a focus on strong representations of the club’s female members, who participate in and enjoy the same competition as their male friends.
Karl said: “I chose to work with the club because I have three daughters and I want them to be able to see images that offer a more positive portrayal of women; more generally I hope the exhibition offers a more positive representation of boys and girls alike.”
The photographs depict the moments of action, pensive nervousness, dynamic movement and commitment captured throughout the clubs various activities and competitions. It moves away from the traditional documentation of ‘surf culture’, instead showing a different side to beach sports and life-saving.
Once the series was completed, it was decided to exhibit the work in the place where it all started: Gyllyngvase beach. The result is an exhibition in the sand, displaying scaled up prints that the public and Falmouth community can enjoy.
“I’m really excited about the notion of taking the work out of the gallery and sharing it in a public space,” explains Karl.
This research project looks to be the first in a series looking at the portrayal of local people through photographs, and Karl is looking forward to continuing to research and photograph groups across Cornwall.
Go Gylly Go exhibition is held in association with Falmouth University and Cartel Photos and with the support of Gylly Beach Café, Gyllyngvase Surf Life Saving & Triathlon Club and Cornwall Council.
Photography by Karl Phillips, editing by Annemarie Bala, installation and logistics by Toby Millinder and co-ordination by Celine Smith of Cartel Photos.
Updates are available at www.gogyllygo.co.uk