During episodes of Grand Designs involving a cliffside build, presenter Kevin McCloud will often have to broach the difficult question of whether the house will still be standing in a decade’s time. It’s a common reality of coastal homes, as Max Miechowski discovered in making his photo book, Land Loss. A mixture of serene portraits and jagged landscapes taken between 2020 and 2023, the project records the small pockets of civilisation dotted along the east coast of England which are facing this prospect themselves.
Miechowski came to the subject through another project, A Big Fat Sky, where he explored the “booms and busts” of the English seaside resorts, like the ones where he spent his own childhood holidays near to where he grew up in Lincolnshire. It looked at the local community’s relationship to the North Sea, whether through the domestic holiday industry or the fishing industry. While there, he became aware of the smaller villages on the fringes of these towns that “were subjected to this quite extreme coastal erosion”, in which he saw a parallel with the themes he was exploring in A Big Fat Sky.
“For a long time I was trying to integrate the two projects together, looking at these resort towns and then looking at the landscape, because I felt like they were in a way talking about similar things – about change and about time – and what eventually became Land Loss seemed like it had the potential to maybe serve as a metaphor for these other things I was dealing with also within the towns,” he explains. However, the more time he spent photographing remote coastal communities, the more depth he found, and decided to give Land Loss its own space.