Posted by Mike Brookes on 21/03/2020
A new and complete set of the one hundred images resulting from the last bus [of the millennium] (1999) have now been reprocessed and added to the archive. A restoration project that began in the new year, as a couple of things began to bring the work back to mind – not least, I guess, because of its twentieth anniversary… And having unexpectedly found myself with some time on my hands this past week or so (!), something about these images themselves, and being able to look at them afresh, has prompted me to complete the process.
Perhaps it’s just the way the city around here sounds and feels, as it settles into this lockdown. The depopulated streets, and that sense of everything and everyone being tucked away and out of sight inside. Maybe it’s that feeling of a turning point, of a moment of shift, with some things passing and others just beginning.
Whatever the reason, something in all this has made me go back and take another look at the traces of that journey I performed on the New Year’s Eve before the turning of the millennium, twenty years ago – the only other time I can remember feeling that daily business had really just stopped for a moment, while something else happened.
It clearly has something to do with how much has passed and changed over the subsequent twenty years, and how much really hasn’t… But, as always, it’s much more about the present. And about the images themselves. A hundred informal snapshots of nothing in particular, taken on a single day, capturing views of landscapes and public spaces temporarily depopulated – places where the main thing seemingly happening that day wasn’t… and of course also quietly was…
That December 31st, 1999, I travelled the two hundred or so miles from my then home, on the west coast of Wales, to the house were I was born in the north of England – entirely by public transport, and arriving at my destination on the very last available bus of the millennium.
I carried just an automatic pocket camera, and three rolls of black and white film. And the resulting one hundred snapshots, snatched through shifting winter weather and dirty windows, record one possible version of the day and journey. An attempt, at the time, to capture and reassert at least some fragments of the daily and actual within the history and future mythologies of the passing of the millennium…
As one of the earliest works in the archive, from the early years of web use, finding it will mean scrolling down to the bottom of a long chronology… but the full image work – reprocessed from the originals, without editing or grading – can now be found in the archive, via the the last bus [of the millennium] text link: here