“As audience we relate to it by identifying with experiences pictured and, if we too are walkers, relating imagery to our own memory of similar occasions, places and sensual response. By contrast with the topographic, such imagery is not about place in itself so much as about the experience of place.”
The act of walking is central to Fulton’s practice and he has said:
“If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art.”
In Fulton’s work experience is the key word and although his photography may seem simple, often consisting of a single image and a few carefully chosen words he succeeds in conveying his experience as Wells summarises:
“He’s not simply trying to show you what a certain place looks like; he’s trying to make you feel the things he felt when he was there.”
For example, his work Facing Cairn Toul (1986):
Fulton often adds factual information about his experience such as dates, locations and other things that happened that day.
I have to say that his work resonates and reassures me and also legitimises and explains my practise in a way that I feel I may not have been able to get across. I regret not having come across Fulton’s work earlier in the MA. Throughout the course I have struggled to explain my approach to the landscape but have always been clear that I am trying to convey my experience of the Road to Elgol. I do not consider myself to be a landscape photographer although I can see how the sweeping vistas of my earlier work might have given that impression. I have always been clear that my dark, moody images convey the way I experience the Black Cuillin for example.
I was also interested in Liz Well’s assessment of Jem Southam’s approach to his work:
“He comes to know a location very well, respects it and responds to it. Working is for him a way of being simultaneously an observer and a part of our environment. It also offers contemplative space.”
For me, walking is an opportunity to spend time in my chosen landscape, to get to know it and slow down – to take in the views and take note of my feelings and emotions. I feel that my work, images and words are finally coming together in a way that demonstrates more clearly how I am seeking to convey these experiences to my audience.
I am feeling positive, as I did towards the end of Surfaces and Strategies that as I start to put my Work in Progress Portfolio and Oral Presentation together and complete the final entries in my Critical Research Journal the story is coming together and I am better able to articulate my methodology and more effectively convey my experiences to my audience.
Wells, L (2011), Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity, I B Taurus & Co, London