HUMANS OF THE WALK EXHIBITION CAPTURES THE FACES OF SCOTLAND’S EVERYDAY WALKERS
FIVE people from Edinburgh are taking centre stage in an outdoors photography exhibition that captures the faces and stories of Scotland’s everyday walkers to mark National Walking Month.
The Edinburgh locals are featuring alongside seven other subjects of all ages and backgrounds from across the country who have shared their inspirational stories in an outdoor installation in Canongate.
Humans of the Walk has been created in collaboration with an eight-strong group of female photographers from Edinburgh College of Art, CollectiveF8.
Organised by Scotland’s walking charity, Paths for All, the portrait exhibition will feature Karine Mather, 34, Sarah Mather, 34, Ved Kapoor, 83, Sakina Abdullah, 71 and Grace Stinson, 21 whose stories serve as a testament to the joys and benefits of regular walking and active travel.
Married couple Karine and Sarah Mather, have shared how getting outdoors has helped Karine with her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis which she was given five years ago.
Karine who is now in a wheelchair, said: “Going on walks together is an incredible tool in helping to manage the pain and mental health difficulties that come with the condition. We get instant pleasure from greenery and it’s the simple memories we make on our walks that we really cherish.
“It’s been great to share our story through Humans of the Walk and help others see just how transformative regular walks can be.”
Celebrating the many ways in which walking improves physical, mental and social health, regardless of age or ability, the project aims to inspire people to fall in love with walking and to make time for it in their daily life.
Grace Stinson who moved from Exeter, New Hampshire to study at The University of Edinburgh has danced from a young age. She found walking beneficial after suffering a serious injury which forced her to stop dancing and resulted in some mental health issues.
Grace said: “It wasn’t easy letting go of dance. But being out and about and keeping active has really helped me. Hiking is a big part of my family’s life. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my mum have been while out walking.
“I love walking in Edinburgh – I find the scenery meditative. It’s so different from at home in the US that I can just get lost in it.”
Ved Kapoor and Sakina Abdullah both attend regular Thursday morning walks organised by the Milan Senior Welfare Organisation (MSWO) – an Edinburgh based organisation which provides support and services to the elderly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Mauritius living in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Sakina said: “I can’t go out by myself. I have a hip problem and don’t feel steady on my feet. I go out with MSWO and it’s my favourite time of the week.
“When I came out of hospital after my hip operation it felt very isolating. Walking as part of the group helps with my balance as well as my confidence and self-esteem because I get to spend time with others of the same age from the local Asian community. It feels homely.”
Ved added: “When I came back from visiting my home in India, I found myself in a very low place because I missed it so much. But walking with the group helped me cope and get back to feeling like my old happy, bubbly self.
“Walking is a part of my weekly routine both alone and together with MSWO. They support those that are not confident in walking and since joining, my knees feel better and balance has been improved. I really enjoy just having a simple chit-chat with others and you feel safe as you’re all together.”
Inspired by the famous digital photography project, Humans of New York, the exhibition brings to life individual stories of love, strength, friendship and age – which are all connected by one thing: walking.
Ian Findlay, Chief Officer at Paths for All, said: “The stories behind the Scots who champion everyday walking are bold – they demonstrate how walking can do so much for our health and wellbeing.
“Humans of the Walk puts across just how walking can help prevent ill health, build communities and create a happier, healthier, greener Scotland.
“We want to revolutionise the way people use their cities, and stop our spaces from being dominated by cars. Scotland’s towns and cities should be a backdrop for people walking, scooting, cycling or simply spending time enjoying cleaner, quieter, calmer streets.”
Amber Brown, member of CollectiveF8, said: “Working on Humans of the Walk has been a perfect project for us, as we aim to address social issues and incite change through photography.
“We formed the collective after bonding over our shared experience of being female artists and realising that we could push each other to do better in collaborating and supporting one another’s work.”
View the full photo gallery featuring Humans of the Walk subjects. The photos are brought to life by 11 unique stories of love, strength, happiness, pain, loss, friendship and age and are all connected by one thing: walking.
Paths for All’s aim is to significantly increase the number of people who choose to walk in Scotland, whether it’s walking for leisure or walking to work, school or to the shops.
The charity works to create more opportunities and better environments not just for walking, but also for cycling and other activities to help make Scotland a more active, more prosperous and greener country.
Open to the public for free, Humans of the Walk will be on display at the Museum of Edinburgh’s courtyard from 5 May – 12 May 2019.
To keep the celebration of walking going, Paths for All is giving everyone a chance to win a Nikon B500 Coolpix camera. To enter the competition, members of the public should post a portrait photo celebrating walking in some way, on Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #HumansOfTheWalk.
The competition runs from 1st May – 31st May 2019 – the dates of National Walking Month and multiple entries are allowed.
For more information on Humans of the Walk and the competition, please visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/humans
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