Born in Finland, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen studied in London, founding the Amber Film & Photography Collective with her fellow students, and then moved to North East England in the 1960s. She has been based in Newcastle ever since, deeply rooted in the local community.
Focusing on two of her photographic series – Byker (1969-83) and Writing in the Sand (1978-98) – this book captures a working class neighbourhood and reveals the devastating impact that the redevelopment of Newcastle’s East End had on the community, but also the moments of joy of the group outings to the beach.
Konttinen’s love for this part of the world is at the heart of these moving but never sentimental pictures. Her photographs and Amber’s films were inscribed in the British section of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2011.