Nightwalking–Relics

Charlene general 11 Comments

Nightwalking is mostly a lonesome activity, one that requires solitude and space to exist. If you share it, it must be with someone who appreciates shadows, or it will lose its mystique and become a thing for all to see: a stroll. 

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I first discovered nightwalking as a student, hungry and low on the real-job scale, consequently rich in spare time. The boy and I would set out close to midnight, when the city is mostly dead, and weave through the shadows of the sidewalk for 2 or 3 hours, discovering sleeping suburbia.

Often we talked, at other times, padded along in silence. But always mindful of our cloaks of invisibility lest some wakeful soul should catch sight of us. Nightwalking was how we got to know the city without interruption or rush, and listened to its deep breath.

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Fast forward five or six years, I am now in possession of a real job, no longer hungry (perhaps a little too full!) and spare time isn’t really spare. I am doing precious few of the million things I seem to want to do, but ceteris paribus, they will come.

These days I go nightwalking alone, usually on my way home from work, as setting out past the witching hour is not a practical option when you’re supposed to be living a Responsible Adult life. I started nightwalking during the winter months, where night is really late afternoon. Now that summer is upon us here in the antipodes, nightwalking will doubtless involve daylight. What won’t have changed is its meditative effect.

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I rarely go nightwalking with the intention of taking photos. The first time I went out to get some fresh air/exercise, my senses, free from any purpose but to absorb mindlessly, started picking up the strangest things around. Odd scenes, like talking car washes, the shape of houses and shoes on spikes, an abandoned alien facility a block away from where I work. Seeing the familiar with fresh eyes.

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I realised after a while that having a camera on me didn’t truncate the strange scene intake. Because the intent was still to go walking, turning thoughts around in my head while my eyes idled on stuff around me. If I could take a picture, good. If I couldn’t, well, I wasn’t there to take pictures anyway.

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Naturally, my little informal nightwalking project is easily the one in which I am the most prolific. Because it’s so easy, I never think about it, just shoot on instinct. Photowalking would be a great profession if it existed!

And yes, this series takes a look around an abandoned dive shop a short walk from where I live. It may be relevant to note that it’s a considerable distance (when you think about target audience) from the sea.

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Comments 11

  1. beautiful Charlene, solitude is a powerful tool and I believe you have a real handle on how to use it. These are fantastic images.

    1. Thank you Ray. I enjoy spending quality time with myself a lot. Music, walking and a camera for company are about as good as it gets on a daily basis 🙂

  2. It is really nice you allow us a sticky beak into your nightwalking world. I understand how something like this is something you kinda only wish to share with people who understand.

    Knowing Perth well, I love seeing it like this. Totally desolate at night, it is a great view of a city at sleep where the shadows come out to play.

    1. Hahahaha, i love the word “stickybeak.” Now I’ve got a picture of a curious pterodactyl in my head.

      I love seeing Perth like this as well. It’s the sensation of “I was feeling like a stranger in a strange land / You know where people play games with the night” that I loved whenever I go somewhere I’ve never been, and I try my to keep it alive in whatever way possible because I really like feeling like a visiting ghost.

      Which is why Further and Further is so great. An alien and a perpetual stranger in a strange land. How rad is that going to be?!

  3. I too love your nightwalking series. Very atmospheric and evocative. I don’t know Perth at all – having never been there – but I’d bet that seeing it at this time gives a whole new feel to the place.

    1. Thanks Cathy. I often think Perth was built around the fact that it’s sunny most days of the year. It looks so lonely and awkwardly huddled in the night.

  4. I love the grass, with the lights through it. I miss being able to be in darkness and quiet – you don’t get to do it nearly often enough once you have children :/

    PS: Good to see you on the Collective 🙂

    1. Hehe, I’ve had people say that to me before. Perhaps the kids will appreciate darkness and quiet soon? 😉

      It’s great to be in the collective!

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