Tag Archives: Photography

Away, away, and Up

Photograph - Hope Fitzgerald

Alex Hartley’s Vigil – Folkestone Triennial 2014

Dear ____________

I hope this finds you well.

I’m sorry I haven’t written before this – the funny flat patch after my long walk across Swale and Medway lingered a bit, and combined with work to suck the sap out of any words I might share here.

I had begun to doubt my commitment to walking. I had lost the motivation, and could feel my good habit slipping away. The disappointment in the days in which I couldn’t bring myself to get out early (or at all) was profound. I was grumpy and mean to myself and mean to everyone else – as long as I was sure they would still love me after I was mean.

In a moment that had Mr F looking around frantically for a recording device, I told him my theory about my spell of missing days walking. I was like an athlete, I told him. (Hence the recording device – sports analogies are not my thing…) Anyway, I told him, waving away his surprise, I wasn’t suddenly lazy or rubbish at walking or photography. I was just off-form on the odd day. Walking for the whole of a life is bound to have the odd dry spell, I told him. It’s a long haul thing, I explained, excited about my own revelation. He sighed inwardly, no doubt. He had the good grace, as ever, to not remind me that he’d said something very like this on many an occasion. I was probably pretty grumpy when he said it, too. Our long marriage has been peppered very infrequently with “I told you so!”, at least from Mr F, for which I am grateful.

So here I am, writing at long last!

Here I am, about to go on a 30 mile walk to Folkestone from Faversham, to sit high up on a ledge as a volunteer in Alex Hartley‘s work for the Folkestone Triennial called Vigil.

And there I’ll be for the next three days, out walking, looking, taking pictures, and hopefully talking to people. The theme of the 2014 Folkestone Triennial is Lookout. The planned walk crosses many high places and lookouts along the North Downs Way. This is my pilgrimage to art and to Vigil, where I will keep Lookout over the harbour and town of Folkestone for three days and nights. Log notes and Journal entries will be on the Vigil site.

Photographs from the walk can be followed on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Further observations will be written up on Walk Folkestone.

Away, away, away and up, up, up!

See you there! Come and wave to me :)

Write when you can!

Hope

Walking to Whitstable

Saxon Shore Way, Faversham Creek

Walking to Whitstable

Faversham, 18 June 2014

Dear ____________

I hope this finds you well.

Almost a week ago (how does this happen!?) I walked to Whitstable. I had arranged to take part in the Whitstable Satellite exhibition organised by Rod Lupton in his Summer house along with other artists who have been regularly involved with what has become known as Assembly, which was first organised by Rod in 2011 in Faversham’s Assembly Room in Preston St. The name has stuck, moving since to the Horsebridge in Whitstable, Beach Creative in Herne Bay, and finally the current Summer House. Another instalment is planned for July in Whitstable at the Horsebridge.

When Rod sent out an email about the Summer House idea, I was in the midst of imagining and planning for my upcoming Ideas Test funded Walk Swale Medway project, in which I will be walking across Swale and Medway for around 3 weeks, led largely by suggestions from social media connections and the people I meet. Walking to Whitstable and seeing how a longer walk might go in the lead up to the project seemed like a good idea. I suggested it, and planned to walk on the last weekend of the Biennale.

Although I walk everyday in Faversham, I felt a bit daunted by the thought of walking a longer than usual distance.  I wander, sometimes for shorter times, sometimes longer, noticing stuff, following the next interesting path I find, and stopping to chat to people. I have walked to date within a range I am physically comfortable with, so I worried that a longer walk might be difficult.

Physically, on arrival to Whitstable, I was ok. My expectations were that the walking would be difficult, but it wasn’t bad. I was tired by the end, and my knees ached a bit, but I walked steadily and my timing was my own. I sat on the sea wall for a bit, looking out at the incredibly low, low tide of the North Kent coast, and then I walked again. All very simple and straightforward.

What I didn’t expect was the mild jolt of arriving, the adjustment to talking with people after several hours of time and headspace that were completely my own.   I am naturally conversational, so finding it difficult to form a sentence was a surprise! It felt like a very odd displacement, and reminded me of an earlier time in my life when I returned to Cambridge, outside Boston, and thought how strange and unfamiliar very familiar things could be.

Rod was hospitality personified and patiently guided me to the Summerhouse after making sure I was fed and watered. It was a wonderful walk and I would encourage anyone considering it to go. And if you have already been – I get it now.  Amazing.

Vipers bugloss near the Sportsman, Seasalter

Vipers bugloss

Sunset at Whitstable

Whitstable Sunset

Sun and shadow

Sun between the beach huts

Whitstable Biennale satellite

Summerhouse morning

I woke in the Summerhouse next morning very early due to the daylight and went in search of the sunrise. I was feeling very smug about Faversham Creek and its sunrises, but Whitstable came up with the a beauty. There were a couple of surprises on the beach, too, in the form of late night/early morning swimmers, au natural, shall we say!

Sunrise Whitstable

Sunrise Whitstable

Early morning dip

Early morning dip

I’ll be keeping in touch more regularly through Walk Swale Medway over the next few weeks, so  pop over there if you’d like to keep in touch, and please do take part! I’ll be back in Faversham mid July, so write when you can!

Hope :)

Meeting the Neighbours

Faversham, 27 April 2014

Dear _____________

I hope this finds you well.  Walking continues alongside  the stuff of life – family, friends, thinking about projects and work. It’s been 10 months since I started walking and it remains a quietly surprising adventure that I feel sure will continue throughout my life.

This month I have been trying to capture more of the people I’ve met and talked to along the way. I’m practising for July’s Walk Swale Medway project, banking up courage to speak to strangers as I go, say what I am doing, and why I am doing it. As I go, this is constantly evolving as new conversations contribute to what may be.  I love the stories I get to hear. The generosity of people spending time to talk with me is lovely and reinforces what I want to believe – that there are more kind and good people in the world than not. Everyone hasn’t agreed to be photographed, but the conversations have been brilliant.

I hope that talking to people along the way and the photographs are a small way of sharing the joy it brings me to walk through and appreciate my surroundings, my community and the people in it. The process of sharing it only increases that pleasure in a self perpetuating circle. Thank you for taking even a small interest whether by reading, sharing, commenting, and liking stuff on social media or in conversation.  Every kind word of encouragement is greatly appreciated.

Here are some of my neighbours. Talk to yours – even just a smile is enough  sometimes! They might surprise you with a great story. You might make someone’s day with a kind word.  Let me know how it goes…

Write when you can.

Hope  :)

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~Click on the images below to see the original Instagram post~

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