Walking Photography

On the Thames Path in Oxfordshire, April 2014

Although I do a lot of walking both as recreation (it’s sometimes enjoyable) and while photographing various events and marches, I’ve never been a ‘walking photographer’. Photographer don’t in general walk; they possibly amble, meander, explore or even dérive. And I’ve occasionally posted pictures taken  on some of my walks, including those along various sections of the Thames Path, here and on My London Diary, as well as producing a book, London Dérives.

But my subject is never really the walk itself, but the places and scenes it takes me to. I didn’t walk the Thames estuary for the exercise but because of a fascination with the area and the landscape. In recent years I’ve tended to take the Brompton and ride where this is possible, though great though this folding bike is (and one of our few remaining British manufacturing companies)  it isn’t suited to rough terrain. But where you can use it, it gets you there in a fifth of the time and with a considerable saving in energy.

I have a problem with most ‘walking photographers’ and ‘walking artists’, at least so far as their photography is concerned. Largely I find it banal or simply a dull document of their concept (which may or not itself have at least a slight interest. While I may like the idea of – for example – Richard Long‘s 1967 ‘Line Made by Walking‘, I’m not sure the photograph has anything real to add; perhaps its point is its lack of interest. You can read more about Long in a Guardian piece.

Some of the most boring large landscape photographs I’ve seen (and there is plenty of competition) were those of Hamish Fulton. I think he is an interesting artist, but not an interesting photographer. His web site Hamish Fulton – Walking Artist—– (open at your own risk) is also one of the most infuriating I’ve come across and I think I would need to be incapacitated by drink or drugs to view it for more than a few seconds, but you can get a better picture visually of his works by a Google Image Search on Hamish Fulton photography (click on ‘Images’.)

But I’m pleased to read a post by Colin Pantall, Photography and Walking: Do they Go Together which looks at the work of Paul Gaffney and Michal Iwanowski shortly to go on show at Ffotogallery in Wales (at Turner House in Penarth.) The show with works by both photographers runs from 7 February – 8 March 2014.

The dozen pictures in ‘We Make the Path by Walking‘ on Irish photographer Paul Gaffney‘s web site are certainly of interest, and Clear of People is one of several interesting projects on Michal Iwanowski‘s web site. Born in Poland in 1977,  he has lived and worked in Cardiff since 2001 and as well as freelancing he teaches photography at Ffotogallery in Cardiff.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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