New Year’s Day Dip
by Caroline O’Doherty
‘Every year, usually between Christmas and New Year, we head to Alnmouth Beach with family and friends. I had no idea a New Year’s Day Dip took place there. We arrived at the beach early in the morning and spent a few hours walking while the kids played. When we returned to the car I noticed an unusual amount of people parking up and heading down to the beach. There was something about the whole event that was both funny and heartwarming. I stood on top of the sand dunes and took a few photos and when I got home, I realised I’d captured far more than what I saw through the lens; the North Sea and the grey skies reek of the cold weather, the determined kid with the shovel, the lady in her bikini getting ready, the Romans (or were they knights?) leading the charge, and the line of spectators watching on. All of these people were braving the cold for some reason. I don’t know their stories, but together they all marked the first day of 2023 in a snapshot of North East spirit.’
‘Fascinated by the stories, characters and humours of life which can be captured by a photograph, I regularly test the patience of family and friends in the never-ending pursuit to capture my own version of contemporary photographic culture’
Scottish born, Northumberland bred, Caroline swapped rural farming life to study in Liverpool before spending time between Manchester and Newcastle working in the media and charity sectors. Rural life eventually pulled on her heartstrings, and she was fortunate to have the opportunity to head home with her family to become the Head of Communications and Development for Northumberland National Park.
‘I’m shocked, but also delighted to be shortlisted for the Northern Photography Prize. I love documenting life through a diary of photos and to be shortlisted suggests others see merit in what I do, which is a rewarding experience. I feel really passionate about the North East as a place and the people which make it so unique.’