Art & Photography

Emli Bendixen Photo Essay: Morning on the Thames

The photographer takes us on a scenic journey along the capital’s riverbank

I find walking the best way to take in the city, especially the paths near the river. I’ve always been drawn to the Thames – perhaps because I grew up near water in Denmark it has a homey feeling to it. For me early mornings are the best time for walking as the area quickly fills up after that. And getting up early is energizing. It gets me in a certain state of mind for the rest of the day… seeing the sun rise, the morning light breaking through, mist lifting and clouds gathering and vanishing. It’s beautiful; the sun lighting up the grey textures, water and glass facades; the symmetry of the architecture around the river – the juxtaposition of old and new – like the Shard and the old Victorian lamp posts side by side.

Port---Along-the-Thames2Port---Along-the-Thames3: The ShardThere isn’t a community of early walkers per se, but you get a sense of a shared space. Fewer crowds and more individuals makes everything feel more personal and I suppose you’re more likely to exchange glances and smiles with strangers. It feels like a small village or like a calm train station or airport where everyone is headed somewhere. There’s a communal feel to that. I don’t often speak to the same people but there’s a guy who packs boxes by one of the hotels, and we always have a chat about photography. He’s recently bought a camera and is keen to talk.


The river walks shows a quieter side of London. I think a lot of people want to see beauty in the mundane. A cliché perhaps, but it’s clearly something that is necessary for us. It’s like meditating I guess. A silent retreat on foot. The walk and the crisp morning air clears my lungs and thoughts, letting my mind wander while still being in the environment I exist in. So it’s a way of meditating that doesn’t require me to sit cross-legged in a field in Hereford.

Words and photography
Emli Bendixen