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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.