Which do you prefer – cycling, walking, jogging, running? Walking would be my preference if I want to focus on my surroundings and observe the sights and sounds around me. However, for this very reason, I may not get as much exercise as I tend to start and stop a lot in order to look and listen, photograph or record. Then again, I am sure the benefit I gain from enjoying the observation makes up for it, mentally at least!
Following the production walk for the “Breakers Walk” StillWalks video (see yesterday’s post), I recently spent a day with three of the other artists involved in the research project “Walk and Draw for Health and Wellbeing”. The project, led by Cathy Treadaway from CARIAD, involved us on this occasion, all going for a walk through Cwm Nash woods down to the seashore and the cliffs on the South Wales coast and spending some time drawing.
I took a small sketchbook and an iPad. I have been working with drawing and iPads on the recent Josef Herman Art Foundation Schools Award project for 2014 and wanted to continue with my assessment of the iPad as another instrument for drawing. I have not reached a clear conclusion about this medium yet, other than to say it is quite different to other methods of recording observation.
The one thing the iPad has in common with all visual recording methods is that you still have to look. You can, of course, use the iPad camera to take a photo and then use that image to “trace” aspects of the subject but, to my mind, with that approach you lose the advantages gained in looking . . . or do you? After all, observation has to be used in order to decide on the photograph to be taken and that is an essential element of StillWalks.
What are the advantages of visually recording observations? What are advantages of the different methods of visually recording observations? And what are the disadvantages of not recording observations?
More thoughts on this to come . . .
Potential StillWalk – the other day I took a walk down a footpath I hadn’t been to for a number of years, pre-StillWalks times. Looking with “new” eyes and listening with “new” ears was fascinating.
The sound of water – There can sometimes be a recording issue with the sounds of an environment that includes running water, i.e. a stream or river. The sounds of the flowing water can so easily drown out other sounds of the environment such as birds, and can become wearing if it is permanent.
However, the small Camffrwd River that the footpath follows did not present this problem. The sounds of the river ebbed and flowed in volume with the arrangement of rocks on its bed. The photos below are accompanied by some sound clips recorded on my iPhone, as were the photos.
Recording 2 stream A short clip of the general sounds of the river.
Recording 4 birds ftstps stream The birds make their presence obvious as the sound of water is less dominant and the flow sounds change as I walk along the path.
Recording 5 walking stream This is a longer clip (2:15) which demonstrates very well the changing sound environment as I move along the path and river.
Unique sounds – All the sound clips and photos prove the need, in producing a StillWalk, to carry out the sound recording at the same time as the photography. The sounds on any day, at any time of day, at any time of year, will always be specific to conditions at the time . . . makes me think of the chaos theory and the interconnectedness of things! Chaos by James Gleick is a fascinating and very accessible book on this subject.