There is rarely silence while walking - hiking boots crunch through layers of leaves; breaths heave on the uphill stretches; backpacks gently, but relentlessly, creak as the weight shifts from shoulder to hip. Wind blows branches, rain pelts hoods. However, within this amiable cacophony, the most consistent noise machine would have to be one's mind.
It can go unnoticed, the noise a mind can make. While living in a loud, constantly changing environment like a city, the mental chatter you have with yourself nestles into the background sounds of everyday life. It disguises itself as to-do lists, and reminders for events you’ve forgotten to write down. But while your legs are burning, feet gently sliding in the boggy soil (somehow found on every mountain on this island) your mind will keep talking to you. It builds elaborate plans for when the walking ends, or maybe dissects the language used on a single sign many miles back.
And then I look up, panting and with shaking knees. The photo forms in front of me, and my hands automatically unclip the camera from where it’s latched as I walk. Camera is raised to eye, and for that moment there is silence.
There is a fine line between creation and research. For the first half of this project I have been creating to the rhythm of my internal monologue. Currently, I am stationary, living in a city. I am examining what I have made during part one - a 5 month period that covered over 2,000km of walking. All the silent moments now have the potential to create a new narrative, reflecting on the research I find, and the new voices that are sharing the space of my mind.
The above text I wrote as part of a series of research seminars I attended last November at PhotoIreland's The Critical Academy. The six seminars were based around developing research skills to help artist underpin their creative work with solid foundations.