YOU may think you know Yorkshire's magnificent coastline. Whether it's the sands of Bridlington bay, the grandeur of Flamborough Head or the wild, rugged coast around Ravesnscar and Whitby, we all
have our favourite spots.
Never will you have seen our coastline like this, however. Mark Denton is described by his publisher as "one of Britain's finest young landscape photographers" - and on the evidence of this
sumptuous book, that's not far off the mark.
Some of the photographs in Mark's first book are breathtaking.
We all know that Flamborough Head is dramatic, but there is an ethereal, faintly sinister beauty about Mark's late-evening shot of the cliffs that redefine the way you think about them. The light
was fading fast when he took his first photo there, Mark writes in the accompanying text, but "I was still compelled to make one attempt to photograph the view.
"After almost ten minutes of continuous exposure, I decided that enough light would have fallen on the film to make the shot at least viewable."
Does it ever. The film was underexposed, Mark admits. "But? this underexposure had worked wonders, bringing out the deep blues of the sea and contrasting the elegant archway the Major Arch in
ethereal cold light."
A year later Mark, who is based near Filey, went back to photograph the same scene again - and found to his shock that the arch had disappeared, cracked and split and completely washed away by the
pounding waves. Coastal erosion at work.
Every single photograph in this 130-page book, which takes in the entire sweep of the Yorkshire coast, provides something surprising. There is a grand sweep to many of the images, as you would
expect from a landscape photographer. But it is the light that makes the photographs so special.
Mark likes to take photographs late in the evening or early in the morning, when the landscape is in transition, from the safe and familiar to something stirring, lonely and wildly beautiful.
His photo of Scarborough's North Bay on a wintry late December afternoon is a fine example. Low shafts of sunlight pick out the faces of distant buildings, while in the foreground you feel you
could almost touch the snow riming the arms of seats looking out over the darkening bay.
Then there is Staithes in the dawn, the light etching the fronts of houses huddled above the water, a photo that stirs the soul with its defiant beauty.
Former vicar turned best-selling author Graham Taylor, who has written a commentary for Mark's book, suggests that in this photo Staithes looks like a village "on the verge of something terrible
about to happen." It is, he writes, "a village so close to the sea that one always gets the impression that the sea itself wants to claw it back beneath the waves".
You do get that impression, indeed. And yet the village looks as though it is determined to endure, too.
These photographs certainly will.
Mark will be signing copies of the book at Waterstones in Scarborough next Saturday at 2pm.