Folkestone: The Beauty Beneath the Surface

As a follow-up to my last blog post, I wanted to have a closer look at the town which gave me such a great first impression to find a bit more about what the town of Folkestone is made of.

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I reckon a good way to start talking about what separates Folkestone from other Kentish Towns is to take note of what’s as classically Kent as can be.  St Mary & St Eanswythe C Of E Church sits adjoining West Cliffe Gardens and the outer edges of Folkestone’s Creative Quarter.

A couple week ago I was asked to generate a series of photos to be considered for the cover of a great regional magazine. This proved to be an awesome opportunity for me on many fronts, and it left me with a number of interesting takes on exactly what’s up with Folkestone.

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As part of my assignment, I was specifically asked to avoid focusing on Folkestone’s architecture but I just couldn’t help but appreciate Tontine Street and Anecdotes Design against the pretty blue Folkestone sky.

The theme of the cover shoot was to sum up Folkestone’s Creative Quarter. Of course, the Creative Foundation‘s headquarters The Quarterhouse was an apt place to pass by.

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“Established in 2002 the Creative Foundation has a remarkable record of success having already transformed the old town of Folkestone into a Creative Quarter populated by artists and home to creative industries and a university. 300 jobs have been created and ninety buildings have been restored in the Creative Quarter and the Quarterhouse, a performance venue for music, theatre, dance and comedy has been built. The area has been animated by two internationally acclaimed visual art Triennial, Folkestone Artworks a significant and permanent contemporary public art collection, a full performance programme and an annual Book Festival.”

At the heart of Folkestone’s Creative Quarter are the Artists. The Artists of 35-37 Tontine Street were kind enough to work with me on the project and we came away with a number of images which truly represent the Creative Quarter. This image is similar to one of two that were selected as candidates for the magazine cover. Unfortunately, it wasn’t communicated that portrait entries were not suitable for the publication but it still made for a great photo.

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The lovely Cerys, up front, was kind enough to invite me into their studio. From left to right, Robyn, Dee, Cerys, Debbie and Leah
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The work of the talented and captivating Robyn Neild
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Immersed within a world of Art: Robyn Neild
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Leah Gaynor working on one of her latest designs
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Cerys Russel creating a serene landscape
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Painter, exploring a personal and emotional response to the patterns, shapes and colours of the Warren and Coastal Park in Folkestone, Deborah Crofts.
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Dee Taylor “specialising in painting, striving to express a mood that will evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Vast and empty land urban scapes offer elements to create drama. Work shifts from dark comment to pop culture.”

Leaving 35-37 Tontine Street, I headed up the hill to take note of the Creative Quarter from a different perspective. One of my favourite Folkestonian fixtures is the brilliant statue pictured below, “Standing Lady-Hare with Dog

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Created by renown artist Sophie Ryder, the Lady-Hare is one of the artist’s mythical creatures that has occupied her imagination for many years.

Further down the Old High Street is a shop that I was looking forward to including in my cover project. Sentient is an incredibly captivating shop owned by artist and designer Rebecca Mason

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Rebecca Mason‘s combination of analytical but honestly compassionate understanding of the world around her shines through in some of the most interesting and pleasing artistic expressions I’ve seen for some time.

One of the particular subjects of interest for my cover project was “happy, smiling kids“. One of the things that you find in great abundance around Folkestone’s Creative Quarter is happy kids.

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These guys were absolute stars and they are a great example of the general friendliness that is the standard of the Creative Quarter.
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More Folkestone Creative Quarter friendliness.

Over that same weekend, Folkestone’s Free From Festival happened to be taking place. Free From Festival is UK’s first Food Festival that focuses on people that are living their life free from gluten, sugar or dairy.

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Oleia Leclercq of Foodies Nutrition Company.

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The Arbonne area, hosted by Marie Mckay 
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Georgie of The Wildflower Kitchen

So deciding that I’d circled the lovely Creative Quarter a sufficient number of times, I’m happy to say that upon further inspection, the heart of Folkestone is indeed at least as lovely as I’d believed on first sight. One of the best parts about being new to the area is that I get to see Folkestone with new eyes. I know that Folkestone has endured it’s share of ups, downs and false starts, but if what I’ve come to know from the last few months holds true, Folkestone is definitely just as brilliant as I’d supposed both above and beneath the surface.

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I’m a commercial photographer, based in Kent and I specialise in creating dynamic, eye-catching images for my clients. My images are created to add value to every message conveyed across the spectrum of digital and offline platforms alike, including websites, brochures, blogs, social media channels, case studies and any other medium as required. My clients range from BAFTA award winners, multi-national building firms, television personalities and heads of state to local businesses, respected artists and ambitious entrepreneurs. I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas (U.S.A.), and after a stint as a lab technician followed by time out to travel, I began a career as a production rigger, working primarily in television and film. This experience allowed me to become accustomed to pressurised working environments and a demanding clientele! In 2011, I began studying at the London Film Academy, which eventually led to me devoting my time and training to becoming a commercial photographer. Whether you have a specific project in mind or you’re looking for a complete brand identity overhaul, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at kevan@smithstudios.co.uk or give me a call on +44 77 6666 1253.

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