8am Walks is a series built upon one simple instruction:
Leave the house at 8am with a camera and walk.
This ongoing series seeks out colour and vibrancy in Germany's grey capital, and
catalogues a specific time of day with a unique pattern of light. Taken as
part of a daily routine over the course of over four years, images from this series
document overlooked and unnoticed aspects of Berlin life and bring greater
exposure to the patterns, repetitions and coincidences that disrupt the dull.
8am Walks began as a creative exercise in
London in 2014 and has since evolved into a long-term image archiving project in urban-exploration in Berlin. At the start of this project I was hopelessly enamoured of the work of British
photographers Richard Wentworth (Making do and Getting By) and Keith Arnatt (Pictures from a
Rubbish Tip), whose series give focus to small details in everyday life and either prompt us to
question their normality or highlight the ways in which we subconsciously subvert the controlled
nature of the city in our day-to-day actions. I had also participated in an incredibly impactful
workshop at UAL instructed by the artist duo WassinkLundgren, where I learned of how small
interventions within the traditional rhythms and cyclic time stamps of a city can spark new ideas.
8am Walks then emerged from these many stimuli and, fundamentally for me at that time, offered
an antidote to the creative blocks I was experiencing. Simultaneously, I was also training my eye
through the lens of my camera each day and exploring the city on foot in order to make
connections between the many things I was seeing - connections that would then drive future
investigations and inform the projects I initiated within my studies. London, after all, is one of the
great walking cities, where whole swathes of famous walkers, pedestrians, flâneurs and
psychogeographers throughout history have been seduced by the allure of an ‘unknown’ London.
I felt I was in good company.
One such walker, Thomas De Quincey, wrote of London’s Soho, in Confessions of an English
Opium Eater; ‘I came suddenly upon such knotty problems of alleys, such enigmatic entries, and
such sphinx’s riddles of streets without thoroughfares, as must, I conceive, baffle the audacity of porters, and confound the intellects of hackney-coachman.’
Such is the reputation of London’s tangled streets.
I doubt that De Quincey would have been as equally charmed by present-day Berlin, with its grid-like infrastructure and wide pedestrian pavements likely preventing him, even in the most opium-induced state, from becoming lost. By comparison to London, I suspect few people would describe
Berlin as a great walking city, or for that matter, a particularly complicated city in regards to
navigating its utterly organised streets on foot. And yet, this is precisely why I have always found
Berlin so interesting to explore and document from the ground; because its architecture and
design, to me, exude transparency and thus offer a far greater challenge to strip away its façades
and reveal whatever treasure might be lying beneath.