With his down-to-earth approach, acclaimed photographer Danny North creates images that capture the spirit and energy of the moment. From shooting covers for Rolling Stone magazine, to Lewis Hamilton, to local folk on the Hebridean island of Eigg, he has won multiple awards and has work in the National Portrait Gallery. Overdue a hard earned rest, we invited him to our new beach lofts to unwind and capture the beach living experience through his unique lens.
Words and images by Danny North
We were lucky enough to experience quite a broad range of weather while we were at Watergate Bay. On the first day it was really stormy. Obviously when you go on holiday, you really want it to be nice weather all the time. But when you’re that close to the sea – when you feel like you’re sat on top of the sea – it’s really special to experience all the different conditions. We were lucky in that respect; it went from horizontal rain and foaming seas on the afternoon we arrived, improving over the week to absolutely blazing sun.
One of the highlights for me was sitting on one of the sofas and staring out of the window when the tide’s in; it’s spectacular because you feel like you’re floating above the water. I’ve never experienced anything like that in any hotel in my life (I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the place, but nowhere like this).
It’s spectacular because you feel like you’re floating above the water. I’ve never experienced anything like that in any hotel in my life.
Another thing that was amazing was the fact that you just walk out of your room, down some steps and you’re on the beach. There’s no separation between where you are and the outdoors; it’s one and the same. It’s incredibly special. The short distance between the carpet under your feet and the sand is remarkable. I’ve never stayed anywhere – certainly not in the UK – that offered such a connection with the outdoors.
My wife and I are both photographers. We loved sitting staring out of the window and watching people play and surf; having the windows open and smelling the sea. One day I had the laziest of days; after breakfast on the beach, the only time we left the room was to go and eat! Apart from that, we just sat and watched the entire day unfold, and how the light moved across the bay… from the bright midday sun through to those infamous north coast sunsets, which were spectacular.
There’s no separation between where you are and the outdoors; it’s one and the same.
One of the great pleasures of staying in the beach lofts was having access to the beach at whatever time we wanted. I’m lucky enough to live in Cornwall anyway, but not that close to the sea! In the evening we took our little dog out for a last walk in the twilight just before bed, and you could walk right across the beach when the tide was out. I loved being able to experience the beach at so many different times of day. To actually be there from dawn to dusk was a really special thing.
Because we had such a range of weather, for our first few days the beach was quite empty – especially in the evenings, when it was cold and blustery. The change was remarkable, when the sun came out and the beach filled with people… Not any less enjoyable though – people-watching from the beach lofts is quite a special treat, if truth be told!
We also enjoyed exploring down to the south west of the beach, where there are these little islands, and rocks you have to climb over to get to it. It’s very tidal, so no one sits there. And on low tide, it’s so peaceful, there’s barely a soul.”