Monday, 6 April 2009

Interview: Erica Smith

It could have been Havana

Artist: Erica Smith
Title of work: It Could Have Been Havana

Where do you live?
Hastings, East Sussex

When was the work that's in the show taken?
I took my photo on 4 July last year. It was a gloriously hot Friday -- one of the only really hot weekends I remember last summer.

What were you doing in Margate that day?
It was the first time I'd ever visited Margate. I drove over with an older friend who had been sent to live in Margate when she was about six. She didn't have very happy memories of Margate, but on the day we visited, we had a fantastic time.

What made you take the picture?
Because the sea and sky were just SO blue. We don't get such deep tropical colours in Hastings. I guess its because you have north coast light. I called my photo "It could have been Havana"
because the sea wall is a bit like the Malecon in Havana. And there was a similar feeling of rich, glorious heat.

Why did you put the image in the Margate UK flickr group?
Because I like Flickr! I'm not a member of hundreds of groups, but if I take photos of
something I like, then I usually join a group to share it with like-minded souls. I also think Flickr is a valuable tool for documenting what places are really like. It's a sort of Mass Observation for the 21st century.

Have you exhibited before?
I've never had a photograph in an exhibition before.

How have you found being part of Glimpse 2009?
It was lovely to come over and see other people's photos of Margate in the Glimpse show. It is a wonderful, rich town for photographers. I've found it really enjoyable to explore the town -- and to see the subjects of other people's photographs in real life. It was also great to meet some of the other photographers and get shown a bit of Margate by the locals. Thanks!

What do you think about Margate?
I'm bewitched by Margate. Like Havana, the architecture tells a story of richer times, but because it is quite a poor town, there is a lot of street life. People use the outside spaces, and I think that's a good thing. Margate still has the feeling of a traditional British seaside town, and that made me feel like I was 14 again, back in 1977. I'm sure the town will change, and I'm sure the Margate Flickr photographers will document that change in a very personal way.


  1. I really enjoyed this generous contribution and account from Erica Smith. Her description of her motivation for taking the image is a perfect mirror of how you read the photograph which embodies the picturesque but has in the heat of the day expressed the undercurrent of deprivation, decay and loss of purpose so succinctly. Great!

  2. Interesting comparison! Fabulous to have someone who has never exhibited before. So good for Margate.