We happened upon them by chance, the first sitting front and centre in the window, slightly faded around the edges and showing signs of previous ownership. The second, which took a little longer to find, languished in the British Photographers section of the second hand book shop.
Of the two books, The English Season, by Godfrey Smith was the first book that we spotted, which traverses the reader through the grand old society events of the British summer season. The second book, in almost pristine condition was: England Observed, by John Gay, a collection of exquisite images showcasing the post-war British idyll (with an impressive sartorial lean to many of those photographed). This was the book that tempted us through the door. We was lost, tracing our fingers over the memories as if they were our own, so reminiscent were they of those heady, poetic days of summer.
There is something deliciously nostalgic about the British summer. Those golden years of childhood, of day trips and deckchairs, tea breaks and tennis, sun hats and hammocks. It was these thoughts that set in motion our latest campaign, The Escapists, created in two parts by photographers Flavia Catena and Laura Meek. We wanted to capture the essence of those memories, of those lazy months that spanned June to September, a time in which peace felt like a tangible object and long summer days spent outside bled into nights of frivolity among friends. Our idea with The Escapists was to harken back to those carefree seaside adventures as seen through the lens of John Gay and to the seemingly endless months of school holidays when the hardest decision was to decide between ice cream or saving room for dinner.
Both books depict a captivating insight into a time long gone by, where simple pleasures were so easily attainable, if you knew where to look. Today, we live in a fast-forward world, characterized by unrelenting change. We live our lives in front of screens, on our social media feeds, and through text messages. The physical world seems now to be more on the periphery of our senses. Birdsong in the morning is now reduced to white noise, drowned out by the typing of one’s keyboard. From the woods and fields to the grand old British shoreline, we invite you to rewind, sit back, laze a while, run through the sand, dance, dream and consider this a gentle reminder to keep in touch with the simple pleasures and the promise of the summer to come.