Bizarre or trending subjects? Catch a break with our curiosity of the week. To produce his series Navigate, Paul Thompson walked across the coasts of Britain, looking for mysterious markers.

Based in London, British photographer Paul Thompson specialises in landscape, especially coastal views. Ever since his childhood, the artist has been fascinated by art. Naturally, he turned to photographic studies, when he was 17. He defines his approach as “minimal, graphic and considered”. Shot on big format film, his pictures reveal the beauty of nature.

“I started Navigate while shooting a couple of other projects at the time – they were long exposures shot at full moon. I noticed these markers. They all seemed to have their own personality. When I found out what they were, I felt that these unassuming, almost invisible structures needed to be documented”, Paul Thompson tells us. Placed near the coasts, those constructions warn sailors of the presence of a port, a jetty, or even hidden obstacles. A discrete, yet remarkable signal.

Isolated from the continent

“I have devoted days, if not weeks, to finding the markers by foot across the country, the photographer tells us. There are no short cuts in my work. When I’d find one, I would wait for the light and tide to be right.” A meticulous work, honoring the importance of those subdued constructions.

Though the pictures reveal a poetic and dreamy universe, they also present another view of Britain. “I started this project in 2016 and with everything that was going on, on a political level it became increasingly clear to me that I had to complete this project, he tells us. The content of the images highlighted that we were just a small island, surrounded by water. It made me consider about the impact this would have on us as a country but also how the rest of the world would view our island. Navigate looks at Britain from the edges out.” A contemplative series on a territory isolated from the continent revealing unexpected depths.

© Paul Thompson