Happy Long Weekend! 

I’ve been back at work a week and ur already feels like much longer than that. It’s a strange feeling, but the benefit of a late Easter means it is now the May Day bank holiday weekend and an extra day off work. Even if the sun doesn’t sun it will be a wonderful weekend because I will ensure it is. 

I have some masters work to do and I intend on spending as much time outside as possible. 

Enjoy your three day weekend! 

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Letterpress fun

I loved it! I adore being a student because there are so many wonderful experiences to be had if you just talk to people. 

I had a wonderful time with the technician who was incredibly kind, patient and helpful. I enjoy working with people like that, especially when they don’t judge your inexperience! For example I put a d instead of a P and made a new word, that was actually hilarious. 

I’m happy with what I did and I’m going back next week to continue with more text for the book I am working on. That will take much longer, but I enjoyed the process and made some new friends in a different department. 

‘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!

The Lure of the Water

Water has two effects…one it is calming the other is terror. For a lot of people in the world at the moment it is causing a lot of pain and fear. People trying to escape oppressive regimes in boats that are either overcrowded or not seaworthy. For other there is a fear of tropical storms which raise towns and villages to the ground causing death and destruction.

I am fortunate, I do not live in an area where I need to escape with my family to be able to live safely, nor do I live with the fear of tropical storms or hurricanes. I grew up by the sea and currently live by the sea. I have never been far from water in my life…either rivers or lakes. I like to holiday where there is water and be able to walk by the river if I am in a city.

Even though I have a romantic view of water: with a feeling of calm and serenity, I am fully aware of the power and strength of the water. That if you do not respect the water it will find a way bring that reality to bear.

I love the water, I have decided to base part of my MA project around the water. Being by the sea gives me an opportunity for reflection that is not always possible anywhere else. The draw of the horizon line, wondering what is out there and if I could get there what would I find? The idea of searching for something greater than myself, in whatever form that is, is something that I want to explore by walking part of the South West Coast Path.