Seaborne, Mike

Date of Birth:
Seaborne, Mike

Mike Seaborne, a documentary and urban landscape photographer, came to photography through his boyhood interest in railways. He was taught how to 'see' with a camera through evening classes held at his local school in Leicester by the renowned railway photographer and writer, Colin Garrett. Later, whilst studying for a Degree at Leeds University in Philosophy and the History of Scientific Thought, he discovered the work of Colin Gifford. 'Decline of Steam', Gifford's seminal photographic book, showed Seaborne the documentary possibilities of picturing the subject in the wider social and environmental context.

Seaborne began photographing in London after joining the curatorial team at the Museum of London in September 1979. Whilst exploring the old industrial areas of the capital, he discovered the Isle of Dogs and the derelict West India and Millwall Docks. Soon to be designated 'Docklands', this part of London was clearly on the verge of being transformed, and Seaborne set about documenting the landscape before it disappeared forever.

In 1984, he teamed up with the Island History Project (I.H.P), a community-based organisation dedicated to recovering the history of the area. Seaborne obtained a Greater London Council grant to undertake a photographic project documenting life and work on the Isle of Dogs before the developers moved in. This project lasted for over a year and resulted in a large body of photographs. These provided the basis for a travelling exhibition, East Enders: The Final Episode? (1986). The photographs were subsequently archived by the I.H.P. as the Picture It Now collection.

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