Sometimes these 'moments of being' come as spectacular and unexpected events, whereas in other instances they can be found through observation, intense observation that brings about this moment of clarity and awareness. Self awareness is a significant factor in recognising these moments, Woolf believed one had to be attuned to these 'moments of being' in order to access them, and that they could be developed through training. Woolf was influenced by Henri Bergson's ideas on experience, placing importance on how we experience. Bergson was interested in how we can deepen and widen our experiences of everyday life. He uses the term 'duration' to describe the authentic means of experiencing time (as opposed to the commonly depended upon 'clock-time').
Although there is no evidence to suggest either Woolf or Bergson were read on Eastern philosophy, their ideas on experience relate strongly to concepts of Zen Buddhism. This teaches that all people are capable of experiencing heightened awareness through practice, meditation for example. The purpose of meditation being to induce a sense of awareness, of a higher consciousness, in the practitioner. This awareness not only relates to the sensations experienced but also the reaction to the sensation.
Walking is one of the most basic forms of meditation and much has been written on this and how it is inducive to creativity. Walking is an important part of my own practice and I would go so far to say that the walk is as important as the process of image making. So as I was walking, I would notice certain movements in the water, the grasses, the trees, the shadows and normally work with these movements in a still image format using extended exposure times. I began to find the still image restrictive in representing all these energies and rhythms within the environment, this led me to start working with moving image.
I approached the process in a similar way to a photograph, in selecting an area of focus and then making a very conscious decision not to pan or zoom whilst filming, thus allowing the energy of the sea, or the wind or the light to create the rhythm within the frame. In doing this, like when I would previously work with extended exposures, I could set the camera to record and then remain present within the environment, I could still experience the space directly rather than through a lens. Setting working processes like these are really important to me as I want my creative process to have as little interruption as possible on my direct experience. As the camera was recording, I was able to engage myself within the space, and it is during these times that I begin to form my responses, not only through the camera, but by writing my thoughts as they come to me, by picking up objects which I later work with in the darkroom, recording sounds and words that I notice myself thinking. As well as building the relationship between myself and the space, I use all these elements when I go back and start to play with all that I have collected and recorded, which all becomes knitted into the work as I develop it. The film works as a way to translate the relationship between myself and the space. I have also found that the films provide a very different form of engagement for the viewer than they would get with a series of still images. The rhythms and changes in pace help form a meditative experience that comes closer to the direct experience of the place.