Walking as a Decisive Moment

  • Jim Brogden


Brogden argues that walking provides an essential research encounter with the urban landscape, affording a vivid ‘lived experience’ for the individual. The ontological burden associated with Cartier-Bresson’s ‘the decisive moment’ is contested. There is no decisive moment, only the symbiotic performance of walking and photography, as continuous ‘moments’. Brogden offers examples where walking has enhanced creative practice and conceptual thinking: flâneurism, the iterative walks of Van Gogh, Iain Sinclair’s urban explorations, Richard Mabey’s prophetic eco-walks, Thoreau’s meditations on walking as personal salvation, and an extensive analysis of W.G. Sebald’s auto-ethnographic pilgrimages through ruined European historical narratives. Brogden also reflects on the revelatory potential of returning to the site, by drawing on the conceptual work of Jacques Lacan’s ‘The Real’, and Soren Kierkegaard’s notion of ‘Repetition’. ‘Walking as a Decisive Moment’ concludes with street movement, in which the pedestrian performs indeterminate routes through the urban landscape, eschewing maps, to embrace an improvisatory form of spatial practice.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Brogden
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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