Hard Shoulder Lessons

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A year of roadside living, early starts and late-night music.

A year of restrictions and freedom.

A year of all sorts of places and faces.

Miles of mountains with grass you wish was greener, washed in rain you wish would brighten up; followed by weeks of industrial estate in the best conditions of the year leaving you wishing you were back up the crag with a pad and your far-flung friends.

A year of ambition, jadedness, U-turns, and elation. A year of newfound companions, preferences, and experiences.

A year of lessons and thoughts. Some of these things are worth sharing.

I’ve gone through my diary pages and transcribed some of what I’ve written; often re-assembling words from their frantically jumbled jottings.

June 2021 - the River Medway:

“Going freelance [or doing anything big and unknown] is a little bit like jumping into cold water. You know you will be cold and out of your depth when you first jump in, but you generally expect that feeling to improve after a few minutes of paddling around. When it doesn’t improve as quickly as you imagined, and you’re already committed and keep getting colder, you start panicking. So the first part of the jump is not actually the hardest, but generally the second or third parts when you’re running out of energy.”

29 July 2021 – while cycling through Cumbria en route to John O’Groats:

“1) Food tastes better outside 

 2) Shooting film > digital 

 3) Not shooting at all is often even better  

 4) Packing a bag and cycling in a straight line, even for a week, will change your life

 5) Uphill > downhill

 6) The UK is underrated

 7) Strangers are kind”

August 2021 – from conversations with Jacob Martin:

“Be a lot looser with film [photography]…moments never become perfect, they simply change, and the good you’re looking for is never going to be the good you first saw.”

"People forget how powerful it can be to change just one person's life. People talk about if they could go back in history and maybe meet Hitler's parents and stop them meeting, how they'd change history, but forget that they are existing in the here and now and can influence and inspire the people around them. Even change for one person, saving one person's life, is extraordinary."

“Will it matter one year from now?”

September 2021 – Cornwall:

“Don’t try to be cool, try to be good”.

“Story is everything”

“Don’t wait for fully-formed ideas or projects. You do what you do because it is what you do, not because of what you will be when it is done.”

December 2021 – from a letter to a friend:
 “You can always make someone else’s day.”

Thank you to all the friends who have shared their time with me this year and for all the good chats and ideas. 

All photos from a week in Snowdonia, July 2021

Thank you for reading.

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See you soon, Tim.