The Story of StillWalks
StillWalks started out as a personal means of dealing with a period of stress and depression. During this time the main thing that helped me cope with my situation other than the support of my wife, was to take frequent walks – mostly locally in the woods and on the marshes and hills that surround me. Walking is a great therapy and helps to keep you fit as well.
Over many years spent working as an artist in South Wales schools on design, weave and interactive digital media projects, I have gained a keen interest and experience with sound recording and editing. My particular interest in the textures, patterns and colours of the things around me on my walks comes from my original training in tapestry weaving – examples of some of this work can be seen at alastair-duncan.com
In the beginning I was interested in trying to express how I was feeling through using the photographs I took to produce what I called “Interventions”.
It was pointed out to me that these intervention photowalks would be quite relaxing if it weren’t for the interventions. After that I started looking at things in a different way. Coincidentally, this also helped to deal with my stress and depression. On trying out the photowalks without the interventions and thinking of the possible uses of such a resource, I applied, successfully, for an Arts Council of Wales Award and was able to take the development of the idea further as well as carry out the first stages of research into its possible uses.
It was important to me to use still photography rather than video – an important element of the walks is that the viewer is led on the walk through the careful selection of images and sounds. Still photography, I find, is a better stimulus for the imagination and allows me to capture moments and aspects of the environment that interest me and present them in the highest quality detail with the element of movement being provided by the sound recording.
StillWalks are about looking, listening and enjoying the things that are around us every day – the still photography and the timing of the transitions allow time for the viewer to absorb the images and sounds of the walks.
Following many training days, seminars, webinars, research, networking and consultation, and listening to a multitude of comments, advice and feedback from many different and helpful people, and with the assistance of a LIF grant, I launched StillWalks and started undertaking projects.
Many more developments are planned for StillWalks in the future and there are currently many FREE elements. These include daily blog posts as well as access to these posts via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Tumblr, and Flickr.
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