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I walked the Thames Path from source to mouth over the summer of 2019, picking up a stone each mile. 184 stones in all.
Walking time is also thinking time, of which I had plenty during the 14 days it took me to complete the route.
Some say the path does not exist until it is walked. Mathematically this is true in the sense that the line I followed and recorded on my GPS was unique to my walk. Here you will find an exploration of my exploration - various attempts to represent a journey.
Of course I took many photographs on the way. About half-way through I had a discussion with someone as to whether the images provided any evidence at all that I had been here. These days everything is available on the internet. Strangely, this made me want to take even more photographs to show people the reality of where I had been.
Yet a walk is also about rhythm and I did not want to stop and photograph everything. And sometimes there were no photographs. Picking up stones kept me going, but also provided a strange parallel with photography. Another slice of landscape, another aesthetic choice to make each mile. A second set of memories to piece together when I got back home.
A walk deconstructs and reconstructs a path as it occurs, by steps, miles, and days. My GPS data from the journey existed as a series of points, which were connected to form a line on the map. This line was split into sections to be assembled into a 3m path on the ground, on which my 184 stones were laid out, reliving the process of making the walk. This large stone sculpture was then photographed in slices and assembled panoramically on the computer.
At each stage of this construction process the memory is updated with a fresh impression. The picture changes, as it does for you the reader following in the footsteps of this journey.
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