Walking is as important to my work as my camera, and paint brushes. Not that surprising, perhaps, when you consider that majority of my work is about the landscape – It follows that I would need to visit places for inspiration. Visiting and looking isn’t enough though. I often walk miles and miles in all kinds of weather, crossing terrain that has become as familiar as the back of my hand; or occasionally seeking out new places to explore. I rarely go anywhere just to photograph or draw a certain thing, but merely set out to enjoy the simple pleasure of putting one foot in front of the other, and to savour the new experiences that each walk brings. Anything else that occurs on the journey is a bonus. Having said that, a pack containing a camera, drawing materials and sketchbook; a flask and extra clothing, and anything else that might come in handy, is always available. But I never feel under pressure to make use of it.
I usually decide where to walk on the spur of the moment, and enjoy the spontaneity of this, it becomes more like an adventure. Often if the weather is good and the mood is right, I stop on my journey and take photographs, or to draw or write in a notebook. These walks tend to be shorter and flit from one point of interest to another. I walk both on and off the beaten track, playfully seeking out new ways of seeing or photographing a place. There is enormous pleasure in doing this, and I usually return with a whole new wealth of images and ideas.
On the other hand, sometimes it is nice just to walk, and look, and think. I find that walking is particularly conducive to thinking, and walking through a landscape allows plenty of space to walk through a chain of thoughts or ideas. It is harder to describe the ways in which this kind of walking might contribute to my work. It certainly allows the eyes and the mind to wander; and sights, sounds, thoughts, and experiences, may eventually feed back into the work from memory or the imagination. Perhaps the walking provides an opportunity to reflect, or a new space to occupy whilst chewing over a problem. Maybe it offers a break from the grind; space to breathe and recharge; to play and explore. Like a present to the child inside.
I shot this series of images during my last walk, a walk very much of the first kind. An unplanned trip with a camera along the coast near my home in North West England. The images appear in the order that I walked them.
All images copyright © 2014 Debbie Yare, All rights reserved