I sometimes wonder if I walk because it enables me to take photographs, or I photograph because it gives me the chance to walk about? Maybe it is both, or neither. Whatever the reason I just know that I enjoy the combination; there is just something emotive to me about documenting my travels, whether they be big or small, distant or local, urban or rural. I walked the Sefton Coast Trail in late August, here in NW England. It runs south from the seaside town of Southport and for twenty miles or so almost to the city of Liverpool; a mixture of high-rolling dunes and pine-woods which gives it an un-english-like appearance, almost Mediterranean it seems to me: A long expanse of wide beach backed by tussock topped dunes and evergreens; it is like I said in my post The-Sea
‘Everyone’s coast is different, this is mine. Untraditional, distinct, offbeat, peculiar… but entrancing all the same. A transitory strip between two worlds, one wet, one dry.’
I didn’t have a detailed map for the area, instead just making do with a tourist pamphlet from the information-bureau in Southport, but this sufficed. I find it is important to me to know where I am going. This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but it is not just because of considerations of becoming lost, but also so that I can trace my journey as I proceed; to trace my finger along the contours and dotted lines of a map and pin-point my location at any moment. The Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama has a great love of maps, maybe all photographers do? He once said of them – ‘To me, by looking at the streets on a map – no more than an illustration on paper, after all – some kind of a reality awakens, going beyond the border of simple imagination.’
Earlier in the piece he said – ‘At night when I’m at home and the family is asleep, I sometimes feel left behind and I can’t sleep; in these strangely erratic times when I feel I have nowhere to go, I take out and unfold a map and never get tired of looking at it.’
To me, maps somehow make the whole experience more immersive, they help me to feel a part of the landscape, rather than just in it. I guess none of this has anything to do with the photographs I am showing here, but I thought it would help to explain why I end up in the places that I do sometimes; it is part photographic, part exploration; exploring both place and imagery at the same time: Photography is place above all else, place and time: time within a place and place within time: It is obvious to mention that a photographer is present at every photo that he takes; although this to me seems important. They may not actually be in the photograph, but their presence will always be there; it is a photograph of them as much as anything else: So, in other words, photography is always a combination of time, place and a person.
These images were all shot on film; Fujifilm-C200 for those interested in such things (although I have converted two to BW): I don’t care that much about what film I use, cheap consumer film will usually do; although I like the tones of this film, they seem rich without being vibrant, organic without being earthy, kind of just how I like it. I don’t think it is necessary to say anything else about the images themselves, they are what they are, images of the coast, so I will just let them be; better I guess to let time and place do that for me…