I used to holiday annually with my parents on the Ilse of Wight. We’d sit down to dinner, as a family, around 7pm most nights and watch the waves crash against possibly one of Britain’s most beautiful beaches; the golden sands of Sandown.
As dusk began to settle, and the lights of the pleasure pier sparkled incandescently, a faithful group of metal detectors descended upon the beach.
I used to be quite offended by their presence. Especially when I’d see them pick up a wristwatch, spare change or goodness knows what else. I’d work myself up more so as I began to put a story behind their treasures. What if the man who lost that watch had conscientiously scrimped and saved for months to buy it. What if that meager spare change that twilight beach comber eagerly pocketed had actually been budgeted to pay for a family meal. I guess someone would be going hungry tonight. Or possibly without a 99 flake tomorrow.
Despite my internal condemnation of their hobby, each night they returned after the last of the families and holidaymakers begrudgingly left the beach.
Then, years later, I met Ian.
Ian also enjoys the odd spot of metal detecting. I remember when he told me he had two metal detectors; my heart sank as I remembered the anger I felt towards those brazen beach combers. But Ian isn’t the type that lays in wait for families to unknowingly leave stuff behind on the beach. No. Ian prefers to scour recently disturbed patches of land. The type that are about to be ravaged by progress, cheap housing and more roads.
He jokingly calls himself a treasure hunter. He’s found old Roman coins in the past. As someone who loves ancient history, I couldn’t help but get excited at the prospect of what he might find on his next treasure hunt, so I decided to accompany him to Stewartby, along with my new telephoto lens.
Unfortunately, Ian didn’t manage to find anything. But I got some great shots. I think they capture the anticipation and the far reaching possibilities that the land could give up.
Let me know what you think 🙂