I introduced my Walking project on 29th January 2021. Around 50 photographs from it have appeared up to 29th May, when I described bringing the work together in a Blurb book, Footfall – copies arrived on the 7th June. The project was originally conceived as a largely photographic exercise, but evolved into something closer to a reflection on the nature of urban walking. This was influenced by simultaneously reading around the subject, especially The Walker – On Finding and Losing Yourself in the Modern City, Matthew Beaumont, 2020, Flaneuse, Lauren Elkin, 2016 and Wanderlust – A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit, 2001. Brief quotes from these and other writers accompany the photographs. Footfall is structured very loosely around seven implied themes: how and why; pleasures; interactions; epiphanies; deviance; urban environment; philosophy; and threats. The book concludes with the following short afterword describing how it came about.
‘The street is the only region of valid experience’, according to Andre Breton in Najda, quoted by Matthew Beaumont in The Walker – On Finding and Losing Yourself in the Modern City. If this exaggerates the pleasures of the street, one should expect no less from a Surrealist; and we live in curious pandemic times when walking has been one of the few valid experiences available, so it’s allowable. ‘No walk, as far as I am concerned, is ever wasted’, claims Beaumont, ‘In contrast…to a car journey’. Walking makes him feel alive and ‘vitally connected to the city’s ceaseless circuits of energy and, at the same time, delicately detached from them.’
‘In this spirit, I’ve walked the streets from my home regardless of the weather and at no particular time of day, camera in hand, waiting to see what turns up and relying on the gift of serendipity. There is nothing new in this. Artists such as Sophie Calle, Hamish Fulton, Richard Long and many others have explored the walk creatively throughland art, conceptual art, street photography and film. Footfall is a record of time and place and offers a reflection on urban walking.’
‘Footfall is the result of 36 walks taken between 20th December 2020 and 29th March 2021. All photographs were made on film.’