A house sits atop a grassy cliff overlooking the British coast.

Max Miechowski: Documenting Britain’s Land Loss

words and photographs by max miechowski

The London-based photographer captures the geological erosion of the British coast—and reflects on the impact of such permanent change on the surrounding communities.

“The British east coast is the fastest eroding coastline in Europe,” said London-based photographer Max Miechowski. “Landslides and rising sea levels eat away at the soft foundations on which life here has been built. I expected to find storms, rough seas, ruined houses falling into the waves. A sense of urgency from the people living on the edge of a landscape, where entire towns have been lost to the North Sea. Instead, the land felt still, the waters were calm, and time moved slowly.”


Land Loss, a photographic essay made up of over 30 images captured across the British isles in a bid to document ongoing ecological changes made worse by climate change. The series serves as a continuation of Miechowski’s deep interest in the country’s landscape, exploring themes of time, community and resilience.


“Every time I return something has changed,” said Miechowski. “Cracks creep through roads that once led to villages, flowers grow in places where homes used to be. Traces of what has gone remind us of what is to come. The morning sun reveals what progress the sea has made in the night. Sure and steady. I know that, before long, this place will come to nothing, yet it seems impossible to imagine. I went there often to watch it change, and make pictures before it did.”


In the work, images of geology and erosion act as a symbol of the permanence of loss in the world. As Miechowski poignantly learns by observing the community, “we, too, are as temporary as the cliffs”—a particularly poignant reminder during a time of social upheaval. In this way, Land Loss can be understood as an extended metaphor where uncertainty, compassion, and care is carried by and within the landscape.


He adds: “Families have lived on the cliffs for generations, never expecting the sea to finally reach their door. Others just moved there, fixing up a place that they knew would soon disappear. It was worth it, they’d say, to see the sunrise and hear the birds and the waves. If only for a few more years. There is something hypnotic about this place – rhythms seem to stand outside of human time. We’re as temporary as the cliffs. The thought unsettles me yet I can understand why, despite all precariousness, people would want to make a home here, between the land and sky, and watch as the sea edges closer.”

A house sits along the edge of a jagged, eroded cliff, surrounded by a metal gate and power line. Below cliff, water washes up on the rocky, yet flat and sandy shore.
The sun peeks through a cracked glass window facing the sea. Window is slightly concealed by sheer, decorative white curtains.
Sunlit cement ground cracked by geological erosion on British coast.
A young, blonde girl in the British east coast looks away with a sad expression.
An older man stands in front of a foresty background looking up toward the sky.
A road is framed by houses and foliage on one side, the British coast on the other, and power lines and a sunset sky above, in this British east coast community.
Close-up of a spiky, purple Sea Holly flower plant growing along British coastline.
Several yellow flowers grow toward sunset sky.
A blonde, young adult sits in a chair inside a dimly sun-lit room, while looking away.
An older man stands amidst a vast amount of foliage, somewhat leaning on a large vine.
A man is framed by foliage, standing in the distance in front a mobile home surrounded by forest.
A small, white house sits between a narrow road and the British coast.
Sheer white, flower decorated curtains cover a glass window while the sun barely shines through. Larger green and yellow flower decorated curtains frame the window on both sides.
An older man peers inside a large white wooden mailbox with forest in background.
Bright yellow flowers grow up along the front of a house on the British coast.
Two young, blonde adults hold hands while jumping on a trampoline. A brown wooden gate separates them from the British coastline.
Several cirrus clouds are still in a blueish, yellow sunset sky.
Eroded, dirt cliff along British coastline exemplifies geological erosion and land loss in British isles.
A woman with her face not shown, stands next to a small, blonde girl on a patch of grass in front of wooden white blocks. The young girl looks down while the woman plays with the girl's hair.
A woman sits in a door path outlooking a forest. She faces away from the camera while petting a tan-colored dog.
A small, orange and black butterfly sits on top of a human finger. Behind the hand and butterfly is grungy window with eroded wood along the panel.
An older man looks straight ahead while driving along British coast.
A cloudy sky, ocean, and wooden gate is hazily shown through a glass window. In the reflection is the inside of a home with a clock on the wall, blinds, and a telescope.
The silhouette of a house sits in the distance with one brightly lit window at the top. Dark shadows are in the forefront, while a power line is shown above the house and below a blue-ish pink sunset sky.
In the center of a smoggy sky sits a minuscule, bright sun in the far distance.
An older man sits in a brown chair while looking out the window in his British east coast home. Behind him and to his side are large windows that reveal smoggy skies with foliage and the British coastline in the distance.
A woman faces the camera while looking in the distance through a sheer, pinkish net material.
A woman sits in a chair in her dimly lit British east coast home. Behind her is a large, opaque window with flower decorated curtains bunched to the side.

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