Interview Rachael Talibart

Rachael Talibart is a multi awarded fine art photographer based in England.

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Rachael Talibart and I am a full-time, professional, fine art photographer specialising in the coast.

Is there a sound dear to your heart? Could tell us about it?

It has to be the sound of the sea. Of course, the sea has many different sounds and I like them all, from gentle lapping on the shore to the roar of a storm. I was recently in Nazare, Portugal and loved the sound the big waves make there as they hit the headland, a kind of sonic boom.

Is there a sound that brings back memories of your childhood?

I grew up sailing and still the sound of wind whistling through masts and rattling halliards takes me straight back to my childhood. It’s potent!

Which certain disappearing sound should be preserved?

This might seem a bit weird but I’d like to preserve the sound of goat bells! Let me explain. Some years ago we went on a family holiday to Crete. We rented a house and it was the last house in the village – above it were just uninhabited hills. There was a special time just after sunset every day when we would hear no other noise, no motors, no humans, just the chiming of goat bells as the goatherd brought them down the hillside for the night. It was so peaceful. Even though the children were quite young then, we’d all become silent and just listen.

How important are sounds to you in your everyday life?

I live in a crowded part of the UK, under the Heathrow flight-path. There is so much sound that it’s like white noise – you tune it out mostly but there’s always the noise of an engine somewhere. I think it’s only when I am somewhere without this noise that I really start to listen. On another family holiday, in Western Australia, we walked into a forest and then I made everyone stand completely still for 2 minutes. As we stopped making noise, the sounds of the forest emerged. The birdsong alone was overwhelmingly beautiful and it wasn’t long before we could pick out all the different songs the different species were making, and we could even hear when two birds were calling and answering each other.

Could you describe the soundscape of your daily work as a photographer in the wilderness or at the coastlines?

At the coast sound is wonderful. I was there last night, completely on my own until after sunset, and a mile from any road or dwelling. I waded out quite far at low tide and I could hear the waves, gently rolling in and overlapping, babbling around my feet. There was the susurration of a soft breeze as counterpoint, and then a solo from an oyster-catcher, one of my favourite birds. Their call is so haunting, and so evocative of all things coastal.

Have you sensed a transformation of sounds over time?

I think it has become harder to hear individual sounds over the general noise of modern life.

Should sound be preserved? Why?

Yes. It’s part of our heritage and ought to be preserved just as much as we preserve the visual.

Is there a sound you would not preserve? Why?

Unmuffled motor engines and a lot of rap music. Both of those things make me feel angry and I don’t like to feel angry!

Rachael Talibart, Surrey, England, January 22nd, 2019
Find Rachael online:
Instagram: @rachaeltalibart
Facebook: @RachaelTalibartPhotography
Twitter: @rtalibart