‘Only look back to see how far you’ve come’

I read this quote a while ago and I cannot find where I found it, so I’m doing the one thing academics should not do: write a quote without knowing the source.

At the moment this is what I am trying to focus on. I know that we use the past to make us better individuals, but that is not specifically what I am talking about. I am talking about those moments where we over analyse absolutely everything. It is something that people with anxiety do a lot. So, I am attempting to ‘let go’ of these moments and concentrate on what lies ahead.

My project ‘Looking for Thule’, is one where I can do just that. I can think about the wider world and the moments of serenity, silence and calm that we all crave in our everyday lives. That is why I am thinking that this will culminate in a book work. Something that you can take with you wherever you go. When things become difficult or stressful it is something that you can dip into to feel a sense of calm…finding your own Thule.

This is something that as I progress with this project I am finding more and more about. It is that sense of inner peace that we all crave. Mindfulness is becoming more and more apparent within this work, something that I didn’t contemplate at the start. We all lead busy, chaotic lives and we need to find that moment, not of ‘me time’ because that is selfish, but time to be inspired by the beauty that is around us. To me that is what Thule is becoming.

I am looking forward to the next stage of my journey as I navigate the paths of the South West Coast Path.


A walk on the landscape

So, by the featured image you can probably tell that I enjoy pushing the boundaries of photography and what a lot of people consider conventional photography. I do not believe that photography should be constraining and the boundaries should be pushing in whatever way your practice takes you.

My practice involves walking in the landscape and a couple of years ago when I was completing my final year of my undergraduate studies I took the decision to bury my film negatives. This lead to a series called Biosigna which gave the landscape an opportunity to have a voice through my photographs of that landscape.

I decided to take this a step further and to take the negatives of the landscapes that I had photographed and attached them to my boots. This allowed me to walk on the landscape to give a different dynamic to the work. It is about being in the land as well as the process of the land leaving an imprint in other ways on me. I am at the early stages of developing this work, but wanted to share my initial outcomes. This is a process of thinking out loud, which I am enjoying.


My walk in the woods

I am back from my walk. I look with me my trusty Hasselblad and even though it was a struggle, I did manage to find pictures. It is hard to look when you don’t know what you’re feeling or even looking for. But that is the beauty of photography and this project. Even though I am searching for Thule, albeit closer to home than the ancient explores thought it to be, I am searching. There is no tangible outcome, the walk and experience is the outcome. That is what I need to hold on to, obviously I am studying for a degree in photography so the visual is important too! However I have this belief that when I feel I have found my Thule or Silence as is one interpretation of the word, then that will reflect through my images.

So I walked, photographed and collected. I collected damaged leaves. It is quite interesting because when I was a child I would only collect perfect leaves: with no dents, rips, discolourations or imperfections. Now I am fascinated by the qualities in the damaged leaves with rips and imperfections galore. The more fragile they are the better. I am contemplating what to do with them, if anything. Do I frame them as they are? Do I create photograms or lumen prints or cyanotypes? There is much that can be done with them, but what feels right? I like the idea of making a print and framing it with the leaf, or just framing the leaf. There is something beautiful about just having the leaf alone. It conjures up different memories for different people and isn’t that what art is all about?

I am reminded of Mark Dion’s work and his Cabinet of Curiosities. Maybe this is something that I could replicate in my own way with the leaves and other objects that I collect along my travels.

Hello again

I have not written for about a month and it seems much longer than that. I have been struggling. I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I have been more tired than usual these past few weeks, I have been working hard both with my MA Project and my teaching job. Usually I can function, but I have been struggling to compartmentalise my thoughts, which has led to an increase in anxiety and along with that problems sleeping at night. It is a catch-22, you are tired, so need to sleep and then you can’t so wake up more tired. This is a cycle that I am hoping to break now I have decided to make myself sit here and write something.

I have found myself with a writers block, which is a problem when you have to write for your masters degree. I usually enjoy writing, and find that it comes relatively easily but this is something new. I find I think of something to write about and the words just don’t come. I sit here and get frustrated. Normally my real thinking time is when I’m on the train – recently all I can here is noise. Noise from the train, the passengers and I just want to hide. I’m thinking a small hut with an amazing view somewhere in Iceland or in the Arctic would be nice! But no, reality is what I must face and I need through my photography and exploration through photography to get myself moving again.

My project is laden with ideas and I have so many avenues to explore. So this morning I am off with my camera to do just that: explore.

I will tell you how it goes!