The sewer drain

Not far from my house, there is a larger street that plays a fundamental role in my daily commute. One day, while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, I was on my bike and suddenly realized that there was something different that day.I glanced at the sewer drain ahead of me, or rather below me. The city workers were cleaning the area and, in the course of a long chain of events, probably neglected a very important part of the job – putting the lid back on properly. I immediately grasped the opportunity. I have a personal connection to this photograph for several reasons.


It is one of the three photographs for which I have had to sacrifice my sleep and wake up very early – and surely, nobody likes that. The road is very busy during the day, making any kind of documentation impossible. The only possibility that remained was to go Sunday at dawn.

I enjoy this photo in particular, since it shows how little suffices, in graphic terms, for a picture to tell a variety of stories. One might ask if the workers were so careless and foolish that they failed to notice that the lid was not placed correctly, if they noticed their unintended joke but left it as it was, or if they did it ‘just for fun’. No one but them will ever know..

What I like about this photo the most is the fact that it proves how traveling to different parts of the world is not the only way to discover new things. The sewer drain is situated 150 meters away from the entrance to our house. I remind myself of that every time I see this photograph.

A few months later, the street was reconstructed and the white lines were gone. The only thing that remained was my photographic documentation of how ridiculous the world can be.

Robert Thiele

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