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Walk To Work - Chongqing

This set of images is the beginning of a collaborative arts project with poet and musician Paul Conneally - Paul set me the task of walking the route - taking the right and left turns of my walk to work in the UK but transposed to the Chinese city of Chongqing. On arrival at my destination the idea was then to explore that place in some way as work. I chose to do this through photography and this is the result of that work. More Walk To Work events are planned in which we task other people to do this in different parts of the world. I spent around two hours between 8.45 a.m. - 10.45 a.m. in the location.

"On Sunday 20th May 2007 I got up, got dressed and , as is customary, left for work without having breakfast. I turned right and took the second on the right, the first on the left, left again, right, left, right and left and in this dog legged fashion reached the point of my work for the day. A point suggested by my friend, artist, poet, teacher, musician and latent surrealist Paul Conneally.

I took the same turns I take every other day of the week but today with two or three small differences - firstly it's 8.30 am in the morning and already the day is hot and humid and begiining to boil, secondly it's a Sunday and thirdly I'm thousands of miles away from my normal route in the fastest growing and one of the least known cities of the world (to the western world).

So here I am arriving for work in a street I've never been in before, a street I set out to reach not knowing where I would end up. It's a street with little going on. An argument about parking at one end. a few shops opening, slowly, some people sweeping the pavements. Over there.....blessed blessed shade from the one tree. So this is where my work begins..........

I take a number of images here in the street and am then enticed by a consumate saleswoman to visit her shop. I am convinced that I want to buy a set of boxed chopsticks with dragon designs - which will "enhance and invogorate my love life" - she's a cool dealer and I bargain lazily - I'm not so committed to the haggle today - I had a day of being tough about prices yesterday and I'm kind of feeling mildly euphoric in the heat with thoughts of my wife and the magical properties of chopsticks...............like I say - a cool saleswoman.

After the chopsticks I decide it's time to go out into the wider world and do my job, just as I usually do.....I'm the director of an arts company, a photographer and a life long engager of other people....it's a little surprise therefore that by 9.30 am I am involved in the middle of a large community based arts event.

There is something really quite special about this....and given my tasking from Paul it is kind of spooky, in a wonderful way, to be at the heart of this city, having taken the tiurns I usually take to get to work to end up somewhere familiar in a way. Stranget hat the centre of my town is a stone's throw from the street I work in and walking the same sort of distance from my hotel entrance I am now just off the central (commercial) square of this city........

Strange too that an arts event is happening here. When I catch the plane back to the UK later today I will walk straight into the task of delivering our town centre street arts festival next weekend.......

the old men so still -
against the glass and steel
a broadleaf shade tree