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A look beyond, using 35mm Artistamp
'The Thin Place' was an exercise in using old equipment and a new artform to find a personal way forward that 'fitted' with my evolution as a photographer and travel artist but avoided the common trap of re-hashing, badly, that which has gone before and does not need to be said again, or destroying that which the artist claims to love. It was an effort to avoid the lazy negativity and pointless optimism that blights our age, to learn the strength needed to truly question one's work and leave alone that which can't be bettered and, through it all, to consolidate the act of pulling off the blinkers and attaining some peace of mind.
It was also, first and foremost, an excuse to go for a walk and push myself to try harder to achieve images that are personally satisfying, rather than the easy-win work that I've been churning out the past few years. If I learnt anything more about the following spiritual matters whilst doing all this, then that was going to be a bonus.
Some of our ancestors believed in multi dimensions and that certain places on our earth - places where the membrane between these dimensions was thinner than everywhere else – offered us the opportunity to experience happenings beyond our own narrow existence.
For instance, the Berber people of North Africa knew that rivers of words flowed underneath Morocco and Algeria. The words harboured ancient stories and where they neared the surface is where holy wanderers stopped to meditate, to talk and to spread their wisdom.
On the other hand the Celts knew that places such as Stonehenge or Iona were where everyone - not just the holy - could feel the other dimensions and to this day people walk the ancient paths and leylines of Britain - and visit our Neolithic sites - because they claim to feel peace and enlightenment whilst doing so.
And then there's sunset and sunrise, wherever you witness them; these sights, some say, also thin out the barriers between dimensions. Of course, such a statement is easy to dismiss - to attribute to enthusiasm, desperation or madness - and equally as easy to experience. As you believe, so shall it be.
I enjoy the feeling, and the idea, of the Thin Place. It nourishes me more than money, a good job or societies’ admiration and approval has ever been able to.
I believe it's possible that the Artistamp photographic process can aid me in viewing life from outside of myself. When the camera is pointed into the sun the direct positive paper that acts as film inside it works with the process to begin to capture something that no other camera - and no human eye - can ever see. It's something like infrared at times, but not quite. This might be purely a result of the materials used, or maybe more.
The images on this page have been taken with a 35mm camera straight onto photographic paper. Some look here much the same as when they come out of the fixer chemical; that's to say, they haven't been fiddled with excessively in Photoshop, whilst others have been reversed to aid the image to reveal itself
(according to my interpretation, which has been informed by the trails experienced).
Some have said to me that they represent the world as experienced by animals such as snakes who can see into the realm of infrared and ultraviolet, far beyond the human range of 420 to 525 nanometres. Others have suggested that there's also a chance that they capture something of another world, a world running parallel to the elecromagnetic spectrum.
The project saw me walking, during May of 2014, along the great pilgrimidge and trade routes of our ancestors for a few hundred miles from Beachy Head to London via the South Downs Way, Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, Avebury and back along the Ridgeway. I walked alone, mapless, and slept outdoors, within nature. I hoped that travelling like this would allow me to experience my country well and also offer the time, space and solitude to see further than I did at the time.
Here are some images created on the walk. A film of the walk is in the pipline and will follow eventually.