Come rain or shine; Brits have always had a fondness for their coastal towns and cities. But over the last half-century, visitor numbers have dwindled, as cheap flights beckoned thousands to enjoy guaranteed good weather elsewhere.
However, in 2020, the year of the forced 'staycation', these traditional spots have seen many holidaymakers return, prompting London photographer Alex Micu to document them. Visting two coastal Kentish towns throughout August, he wanted to show the real face of the tourists and locals enjoying the sea and sand on their home turf.
"As you probably know, seaside towns in the UK are an ecosystem of their own: left to decay and disarray after the democratisation of holidays in the 1970s and '80s and never really recovering since," he says. "They are ruins that also have a sense of Britishness not seen anywhere else. People are making the most out of shifty weather, pebbled beaches and fish & chips."
Using a Nikon FM2 and Kodak film, Alex picked out the nostalgic details of Britain's glorious seaside past – the cafes, the piers, the ice cream vans, theatres, and promenades. They are familiar, comforting landmarks that have perhaps seen better days. His images also reveal the people "making the most of things", building sandcastles, paddling in the sea, and doing what Brits do best – getting on with life, even in the face of a global pandemic. Whether 'staycations' become more of a thing in future, time will only tell. See more of Alex's work at alexmicu.com.