Relaxing during a time of polarised and fractious world events can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Experts suggest that using time creatively is one way to navigate through feelings of anxiety and depression… “expressive art is a tool to explore, develop and practice creativity as a means to wellness”. And photography is one very easily accessible art form, and when combined with walking, can be a portal to escape life’s hassles for a while.
For my part, I’ve walked through rural and urban environments with a camera for the past 45 years, and over that time come to realise it’s a kind of relaxed state of observation during which the mind tunes into the surroundings. A combination of focusing and meditating.
Master photographer Jay Maisel, arrived at a similar conclusion. “I’m open to whatever’s out there because I have no agenda. The joy of going out and not knowing what you’re gonna shoot is a wonderful adventure,” and went on to produce colourful, graphic and beautiful photographs just by watching and walking. It’s an approach in which there’s no pre-imagined outcome, whatever’s encountered en route, if anything, is the end game.
Photo-walks lend themselves to street photography, landscape photography, documentary photography, minimalism, or a combination of all four genres. Some photographers concentrate on capturing the moment, a pure record of the subject, others prefer a more creative approach.
Whatever, one important aspect of the casual photo-walk is to feel comfortable. Carrying lots of heavy gear isn’t necessary and inhibits spontaneity. Not to mention a sweaty back from a clinging back pack or aching neck from shoulder bags. I’ve always believed “less is more” using a waist (bum) bag to facilitate immediate access to my camera – and more often than not these days, just a smart phone.
In conclusion, it’s important to note that photography walks aren’t just about making and taking pictures, they also serve to open your eyes to the world around you. Even if you return with no images it improves fitness and a leaves lightness of mood. A win-win experience.