The high street looked so different without shopper and revellers. Clubs with late licences emptied out onto the street up to 4am and there were always groups of drinkers laughing and running and shouting for a while afterwards. Shops didn’t open until 9am but deliveries were made in the few hours before then. Dawn was the only time in any 24 hour period when the streets were almost deserted.
The first pictures were a series of quick shots, each taken at a point in a circular movement. The photographer span round clicking one after the next, hoping to make a panoramic wheel view of the street. She made the spin three times, running off shot after shot taking in windows and shops and the lightning sky.
The next pictures were close ups, very detailed images of the tiny elements of the street nobody ever notices. The whiskers on a rat scavenging in the bins. The cracked rendering on the side of an empty store. Jagged edges of a broken discarded bottle. The flickering edges of glow from the sodium street light.
Next were time delay pictures. Streaks of headlights in yellows and oranges blurred along the road. The bin wagon a lumbering white elephant with low yellow eyes juddering across the screen in a series of jumps and starts.
Last were images of life on the streets. The rats again, zoomed out to show pointy nose, scaly tail and food scraps feast. A single dog, sniffing at nose level, perhaps lost and hunting his scent to find the way home. A man wrapped in tattered coats, dirty knitted tea-cosy hat, eyes closed against the early morning light, huddled deep in a doorway.
As the light became stronger the photographer packed up, deliveries started, people appeared to open shops, early commuters walked to stations. The photographer headed home. The dog sniffed more scents. The man woke and moved on, until it would become quiet enough to sleep again.