Phlâneuse is a zine combining my love for urban exploration, psychogeography, and photography. It is a realization of the countless walks I’ve had and photographs I’ve taken along the way.
You see, I am a flâneuse at heart and in action. I walk. I walk everyday. I am pulled in by an inner force, or perhaps another force unknown to my conscious self. I feel a sense of freedom when traversing a city on foot and I’m at the most peace with myself. I not only take pleasure in my environment, but seek out new experiences within it. The city is a living organism ever changing. The ghosts of empty streets still contain traces of life. Someone has walked here, laughed here, worked here, cried here; felt loss, pain, hope, fear…right here where I stand. Now I am here, leaving my trace. Cities are touched by the human hand, the heart, and the feet. My feet! How exciting is that?
These traces of life and evidence of time are what draw me in. Weathered advertising posters, faded signs, cracks in the pavement, and other instances where natural and man-made elements mix are times when I particularly take notice. I’m often prompted to capture these moments by photographing them. Although mundane to the passerby, I see something else and intend to demonstrate that there can be beauty in the abstract. City streets contain artworks both intentional and accidental. By looking, really looking around you, it is possible to make connections between yourself and your environment. Walking itself is both physical and mental.
You see, I am both present and absent on my walks. I cannot be fully objective as I bring my own memories, likes, desires, and dreams with me. Sometimes what I see can bring about a past experience that evokes me to reapproach it from a different perspective. I’m certainly informed by my reading and research into psychogeography. I began looking at my own practice and what it means to me. Why am I drawn to certain subject matter? How does my subjectivity play into what I photograph and where I walk? What is it about a dérive in an unexplored area that helps wake up my senses? As I continue to walk, read, and engage with others, I realize how valuable the act of walking can be from a personal, historical, and even political perspective.
I invite you to find your own purpose and pleasure for exploring your surroundings. What you find may surprise you.