If we all think for a moment about who’s probably wandering around at 4am in the morning, the following would probably make everyone’s shortlist:
- Stalkers, keying love poetry into the object of their affection’s car bonnet.
- Ambitious youths in search of their first ASBO (perhaps torching a Rover 25 or vandalising a bus shelter).
- Paralytically drunk revellers, bedding down for the night in the same shop doorway in which they’ve just jettisoned three gallons of piss.
- Superheroes (including moderately drunk, traffic cone-wielding revellers who think they’re superheroes).
- Badgers and foxes.
But thanks to Birmingham photographer Karen Strunks, photographers can now also be added to that list. Why? Because Karen is the driving force behind the 4am Project, which encourages photographers of all competences – from across the globe – to crawl from their drool-sodden pits at the ungodly hour of 4am and venture out into the world with their cameras.
In the last year, Karen has organised three 4am Project events (the last of which included a low-lit 4am jaunt around the Bodies Revealed exhibition at the Custard Factory in Birmingham). And now once again, on April 4th, she’s inviting people from all over the world to wake up at 4am (local time) and get snap-happy for an hour.
The whole idea of the project is for people to take a unique snapshot of their world at the unseen early morning hour of 4am. But how you do it is completely up to you. If you want to wrap up warm and join (or even organise) a local 4am meet-up with other like-minded individuals, you can do. Or perhaps you’d like to bimble around on your own for a bit, snapping whatever takes your fancy. And if you just want to stumble to your bedroom mirror and snap a wonky, dishevelled self-portrait of yourself before hastily retreating to the warmth of your bed – that’s OK too!
There are also prizes this time for the best 4am photographs, which should tempt people from their quilt cocoons. Even better than the prospect of winning corrective laser eye surgery (which I received an e-mail about yesterday), the top prize on offer for taking the best 4am photograph is a Nikon D90 DSLR with 18-105mm lens (worth £1029.99). However, judging by my previous 4am photographic efforts, I might need the eye surgery before I can even think about winning prizes.
Anyway, whether you’re a professional photographer, a competent and creative amateur, or even someone with an eye for a good photo and a camera phone to hand, please do get involved. You can visit the 4am Project website for all the info you could possibly need, and you can also follow both Karen and the Project on Twitter to keep firmly in the loop. Also, if you live in the Gloucester area you might want to follow Kathryn Ashcroft on Twitter. She’s organising a ‘Gloucester at Night‘ event in association with the 4am Project, which you should go along to if you prefer the company of others when wandering around in the wee small hours.