J a n e t M c E w a n

21 Days on St.Michael's Way

Excerpt from the On STMW exhibition catalogue:

To date, I have walked the St Michael’s Way footpath on five occasions – the last two times - on my own.
The main purpose of these solo walks was to generate material for this exhibition. The initial plan was to set up 21 small handmade pinhole cameras along the route, from Lelant to St Michael’s Mount, and to collect them 21 days later. The camera shutters would be left open for 21days (1 day for each year since the path was opened in 1994), and I would then process the light sensitive contents and exhibit the resulting prints. These pinhole images would in theory reveal 21 days of light and activity at various locations along the route, with traces of all the creatures, human and other, who had passed in front of the camera during that time.
The dates were set to encompass the Feast of St James on July 25th 2015.

On setting off alone on the 19th July 2015 with my bag of cameras, sandwiches, and flask of tea, the mission seemed straightforward. The weather was helpfully fair. I had a task to do and felt well equipped to complete it, not least, as the route was becoming familiar. However, as I followed the St Michael’s Way across the peninsula, I found myself prompted repeatedly to question my motivations.
The Way proved to be not only surprisingly challenging, but transformative.

After collecting the cameras, I decided to try to mirror my sense that more time was needed to distil that experience, alongside my disinclination to expose my emergent thoughts, by processing only the contents of cameras no 1 and no 21, positioned at the start and end points of the route. Both these images hold a 21 day-long stare out to sea - from the north coast of Cornwall from St Uny church, and from the south coast, from the top of St. Michael’s Mount.
Unblinkingly, they keep watch on the horizon.

Meanwhile, inside the dark grottos of cameras no 2-20, a further 19 images nestle in silence.
Resisting our gaze.
Taking their time.

On St Michael's Way exhibition catalogue ( 44pages, full colour, perfect bound cloth cover) is available at the ARTISAN shop at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens for £9.
Or contact Janet McEwan .

stmichaelsway.net