Photo Credit: Carl Milner
Marking out the southern entrance to Leeds is Bridgewater Place, otherwise known as The Dalek due to it’s obvious similarities to the Dr’s nemisis. It’s a somewhat controversial structure I think both in terms of design and the vortex of wind that appears to be created by it’s round side which makes moving past it when the wind is blowing a hazardous experience. I think it was built as part of the regeneration of an area of Leeds that needs it and to help connect it to the city centre but I think people confuse the term regeneration with development. Building things is development, regeneration requires the building to have a positive impact on the population and communities around it and I’m not sure how lots of shiny suited lawyers heading in and out of the Dalek in any way achieves that.
For me though the building serves another purpose, it’s a waymark to my everyday journey into the city. Leeds is built in a natural valley and I live on one of the hills to the south so fairly soon after I start riding, depending on the conditions, I can spot my city centre destination and the various landmark buildings but they soon vanish as I start to descend. It reappears when I cross the inner ring road and it says to me almost there, 15 minutes or so on the pedals and I’ll be at my destination.
What I’ve really been musing on though is it’s ‘thereness’ just standing there, never changing like a loan lonely sentry guarding the entrance to the city. I’m fascinated by the everydayness of my surroundings during my cycling commute, you get to know the route intimately every crack and bump in the road that for most they will never notice, the way the cracks slowly widen as the thousands of car wheels chip away at the edges creating a chasm for us on two wheels luring us siren like into potential problems. Everything is at the same time both static and changing and the Dalek really reflects this for me as the world changes around it so I started stopping and taking a photo of it at the same time every morning.
The very fact of stopping seems faintly rebellious to me, as many of us are trapped into this get to work mindset and spend our time rushing around. I can’t rush on the bike, it takes pretty much the same time and I’ve enjoyed the physical fact of unclipping, taking the phone out of my pocket and taking a shot. All the photos are taken between 7 and 7.30 am from the same spot, I try and hold the phone at the same angle as well but as you can see below there are some subtle differences. The main differences of course are the sky, the position of the sun (or no sun) and the passing of the seasons as we move from summer through to the start of winter. In many ways the photos are dull, nothing is happening, there are the warehouses and distribution centres evident before you get to the city centre but at the same time this one moment in time captures change, movement and memories.