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Photo essay: A fish-eye view

with Nick Pumphrey

Pre-pandemic, Cornish photographer Nick Pumphrey travelled the globe shooting for publications including National Geographic and the Guardian. But when Covid-19 struck, with fear sweeping the nation and cabin fever setting in, Nick started an unexpected new daily ritual. 

When his 4am alarm went off, instead of hitting snooze and burrowing deeper under the duvet, he’d climb into his wetsuit and step into the sea with his camera – ready to capture the breaking dawn from the water. Back at his van with a coffee, he’d then post ten daily ‘Dawn Days’ images to his Instagram account. The project was an instant hit, providing a welcome dose of positivity and virtual escapism in a period of worry.


My sea photographs are a combination of intention and experimentation. I love the anticipation, the not knowing exactly how it’s going to turn out. There are no rules.

— Nick Pumphrey

Fresh from a solo show at the Jupiter Gallery in Newlyn (which documented 111 consecutive days photographing daybreak from the sea), we invited Nick to work his magic here at Watergate Bay.

Late one golden summer afternoon, he strode into the Watergate waves with his trusty camera and a friend, coastal artist Sarah Woods. The result? A hypnotic visual ode to the ocean and its power to lift us emotionally and physically.

From transient textures to changing forms and enchanting light, prepare to be mesmerized by Nick’s photographs…


Visit Nick's website


Follow Nick on Instagram


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