Towards an Understanding of Sense of Place

My March First Friday Walk with Walking the Land took me to Rinsey, the opposite direction to the one I had intended. A second impulse, on arriving was to walk a different route to the one I had always done. This ‘walking differently in the same place’ presented me a different perspective of Praa Sands beach I knew well from the other side.

It was on the way back that I had been stopped, intrigued by the babbling sound of water. A long, dancing rivulet coursed towards and beneath my feet from a long way ahead on the path, and petered out beside me as it fell over the cliff edge.

My instinct was to film along the length of the water, from its appearance in the undergrowth ahead to its disappearance beside me, so I had one image of the whole of it and also a record of the sound. I assumed that was what had caught my attention. It was certainly a wonderfully lively sound. Seemingly otherwise aesthetically, historically or geographically indistinct. I also took some stills. all done without much thought.

Later, I toyed with the stills to make them less figurative, the forms softer, losing their original contemporary colour to the black and white of time gone by, and documentary.

I then played with editing the short pieces of film, in a rudimentary way.  Again instinctive, not much thought.

Of the three simple editing commands available on my mobile editing app I chose speed.  Slowed down, the place in the film has a more liminal, less concrete view.  Immediately, the first film resonated and I felt a connection, to the film and also why I had originally paused, yet still unable to put into words exactly what this was.

Following my intuition, walking a different path in a familiar place.  Filming and photographing, without much thought.   Later, the realisation, when playing with editing, was that making these images was the journey towards understanding the essence of why I had paused at such an unremarkable stream.

I was vaguely aware I stopped with the sense of an anomaly between the energetic sound and the almost indiscernible movement of the stream. I was reeled in to one unremarkable, small feature of this wide, open coastline landscape.

I have been tagging along with the artists group Walking the Land on their First Friday Walks preceded by virtual working lunch, in which we have been iI made a film about the intuitive process of being drawn to a place in order to find an analogy for an internal state.  A film about time, passing imperceptibly, were it not for the ripple of light here, or there to show that we are slowly moving through life or loss. About navigating life’s challenges, taking the well trodden path of least resistance around the ditches and stones.
The #walkingtheland challenge was to look at how we know, recognise and respond to place. And there it is. In a stumbled upon stream.