I have enjoyed so many inspirations and experiences, some bordering on the life-changing, in just a few days in the wilderness that I find myself, several days after my return, still in a whirl of thoughts and emotions, trying to formulate them in my mind (difficult) and write them down in intelligible form (much harder). Just one thing is clear: I went to the hills to make images but came back with much more than photographs.

I have undertaken many journeys on foot over the years, some just a few yards in length, a couple extending to hundreds of miles. I have always returned with photographs of the trip, some good, some bad, but nearly all with a separateness about them. By which I mean that the photographs and the journey existed as distinct entities: there was the journey and there were also, just afterwards, the images – distinct, discrete and separate from one another.

The walk of some fifteen miles I undertook recently over the four days of Jubilee weekend has quite a different character – and I use the present tense because it feels that although I am now stationary in a physical sense I still have a strong, unquenchable sense of motion, exhilaration and connectedness as if the momentum has yet to diminish. The walking; the photography; the co-existing with falcons, finches, deer, clouds, frost, water, sun; the survival in inhospitable circumstances; the overcoming of physical pain (knees, shoulders, feet); the discoveries; all seem so inseparable, so integrally, tightly bound that I cannot write solely about the making of imagery. All are chapters of the same story, facets of the same diamond, clouds in the same sky, bogbeans in the same glassy, heart-shaped pool.

Bogbean - purity of form
Bogbean - purity of form

Over the next few posts, I hope I can crystallize and condense all this wordless sensation into something clear – much as the rising thermals eventually lift the morning cloud from the mountain peaks – about how the journey’s elements enmeshed: the landscape, my movement within it, the photographs I made, the shutter openings I rejected in favour of just looking, the encounters with wild animals and places, the predicaments and joys I experienced, the thoughts and emotions I discovered.

6 thoughts on “Four days in the hills

  1. Yours is such a lovely site Mark. It is so refreshing to come upon a simple, clean and emotional journal rather than the super hyped-up commercial blogs that are out there. Yours is like calm oasis in a ‘mad house’. Thank you. I will keep following. All the best , Steve

    1. Steve, thank you. When you describe it as emotional that is a great compliment. I hope I manage to stay on the right side of the fine line between that which is personal and understandable and that which is over-wrought. All the best. Mark

  2. I have always believed that although time passes it also stays with us. These feelings you have now are with you as intensely as when you experienced them – sometimes more so. It’s these feelings that shape us as a person & is reflected in our/your art – it’s as simple & as complex as this – it’s beautiful & it shows in your work. I agree with Steve too – I often come to this blog to make sense of things – there is a calmness about your work, about your blog that shines through the madness of life. So glad you wrote this.

    1. I’m really glad that you find some calm here. Frequently it is not there at the time of starting to write but as things fall into place a settling occurs for me. I could say much about calmness in your work Deb, that the strong unity it shows helps me to feel straight away that there is something powerful happening even if I don’t consciously see it. Confident, subtle power will always have an effect I think and unity is its backbone. It’s true what you say about time too, it stays with us in memories and feelings. Photos then allow us to dwell on it and intensify it, as well as sparking off more thoughts which add to the accumulating effect. Until you mentioned it I had never really considered this but it really shows in your work around childhood. Thanks for your comments. Mark

  3. We say, “time passes”; makes it sound so simple.
    The passing time does not simply slip by us, it is rough and fragile, it rubs against us and small bits break off and become imbedded in us. I have always felt that but I seldom make as much sense of it as you do Mark. I am probably too lazy to expend the effort needed.
    You are on an interesting journey and that image is the perfect expression of your words.

    1. Nice to hear from you, David. I am still trying to make sense of many things brought up by this trip. I am writing and rewriting, re-scanning and reworking. The temptation is to publish something before it is ready but I am learning patience and allowing things to take their own time.

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