This is El Playazo, a wild beach not far from the village of Las Negras in Almeria. It’s reached by winding down a sandy desert road past cactuses, ruined houses, and a small, ragged palm plantation, until suddenly the vast beach unfolds before you.
The landscape here is arid beyond words. It could easily be somewhere in the Middle East, and the simple, dry intersecting lines of the landscape are particularly calming on the mind as they offer such simple visual information.
For the first few hours it shocks me, this boy from Green Old Oxford, it seems to go totally against my landscape-DNA, but soon I’m surprised to find I love it. I feel like I’m somewhere special at the far end of the world.
Wandering past a VW camper in the carpark I looked in to see that the owners, a young couple of free-living beach-roamers, had two black and white prints hanging on the inside wall of the van. One was of a chequered courtyard in, perhaps, Morocco, with two men emerging from deep shadow into a pool of light to one side, in flowing white robes.
The image was so striking – the contrast of light and dark, the beautiful figures, the suggestion of another far-flung part of the world – that I felt instantly enamoured by photography again and ran to the beach with my camera – in this case my phone – to capture the image above of the sea rising up to the shore.