Sand and surf. Babies and bikinis. Taffy and dough. Arcade and boardwalk. All offered subjects for Peter E. Randall and his small camera as he wandered Hampton Beach in the summer of 1983. Hundreds of images were edited to about 80 never before seen photographs. Here are people of all ages enjoying New Hampshire’s largest tourist community.
Randall’s pursuit of beach, boardwalk, arcade, and street photographs began when he asked Agfa to send him some test rolls of their new black and white chromogenic film thathe could use in a documentary project. Fine grained with wide latitude for recording both shadows and highlights, the film was processed by machine like a roll of color print film.
Agfa responded with 20 rolls, which he used in a small camera he could carry in his pocket. Since he lived in Hampton he could visit the beach easily anytime of the day, or day of the week. Street photographers don’t use long lenses to isolate their subjects. His little camera had a moderate wide-angle lens that required him to get relatively close to his subjects. He was rarely noticed by anyone as he photographed and was never told by anyone not to make an image.
During this period, he was starting Peter E. Randall Publisher, and working on several book projects. The Hampton Beach film was processed and filed away, forgotten due to the pressure of more immediate issue. He has been archiving his work and these images caught his attention. He had never looked at them in detail until recently. These 35-year old photographs capture a point in time. Perhaps some of his subjects will recognize themselves and remember happy days at Hampton Beach.
Hampton Beach in the 1980s will be on exhibit in the downstairs Weston Gallery throughout the month of July, 2019. A special reception for Peter will be held on Tuesday, July 9th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. All are invited to attend.
About the Photographer
Peter E. Randall has been photographing professionally since 1963. His photographic travels have taken him to five African countries, Guatemala, Spain, Japan, and New Zealand. He has produced two books of photographs on the Isles of Shoals, where he has photographed since the mid-1970s. He has served as editor of The Hampton Union and New Hampshire Profiles magazine. He founded Peter E. Randall Publisher and produced some 450 titles of local history, poetry, fiction, memoirs, art, and photography. The author of thirteen books of history, photography, and travel, he wrote Hampton, A Century of Town and Beach, 1888-1988. In retirement he made Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden, a film that has been shown on public television. Born in Seabrook and raised in Hampton Falls, he was a thirty-year resident of Hampton. He and his wife now reside in Eliot, Maine.