Lisa Woollett

author & photographer


Lisa is author, photographer and designer of the award-winning books Sea Journal (2016) and Sea and Shore Cornwall: common and curious findings (2013). Both bring together her wanderings along Britain’s shores with stories of their natural history, geology and evolution — from ancient myth to current science. 

After a degree in Psychology, Lisa studied Documentary Photography at Newport School of Art. From 1993 she worked as a photographer - past clients include The Independent on Sunday, Barnardos, The Daily Telegraph, Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Observer.

Her first book Sea and Shore Cornwall: common and curious findings was published in 2013, accompanied by a launch exhibition at the Eden Project. It won a Holyer an Gof Publishers' Award 2014.  

Her second book, Sea Journal, won the Rubery Book Award 2016 (non fiction book of the year) and is a finalist in the British Book Design & Production Awards 2016. Its publication is accompanied by a touring exhibition of 'photographs, finds and curiosities', visiting a number of places that feature in the book throughout 2016. These include Lyme Regis, Polperro, St Ives and Whitstable, with details listed on the Events page. 

She gives occasional talks about making the books and the sea, previously at Port Eliot Festival, Waterstones, Fowey Festival, Eden Project and Penzance LitFest.

Lisa & the sea

Lisa grew up by the sea, in a house on cliffs on the Isle of Sheppey, at the mouth of the Thames. Her grandfather was from a South London family in the ‘scavenging professions’ and she spent much of her childhood collecting and fossicking along the Island’s shores, searching for - among other things - fossils, shark's teeth and old bottles.

The cliffs near her childhood home had, and still have, a strange and other-worldly feel, as they are constantly being eroded and washed away - losing on average five feet a year. She grew up with stories of local churches and pubs that over the years had been lost to the sea. A favourite place was 'The Pub With No Beer', at the time a derelict shell near the cliff edge, with the wreck of the gents already half way to the beach.

As a student, and then freelance photographer for 12 years, she lived in cities, with the coast and the sea a place of solace and escape. 

Then after having her first child in 2003 she moved to Cornwall. She began photographing the sea the day her youngest started pre-school and spent that winter photographing storms and wild seas, selling the work through galleries in Cornwall. She had the idea for her first book a few years later and it took shape as she began researching the curious things she picked up along the shore. 

She continues to live with her family on the south coast of Cornwall - in a house shared with buckets and boxes of beach finds - and is currently working on a new book.