London Bananas


When I first got to London I noticed a lot of banana skins lying around in the streets and in public places. I couldn’t get over how many there were, so I started asking Londoners about them, thinking that there must be an explanation.

Every single person I asked said I must be imagining it, they had never noticed a banana skin in the street before.

I started photographing them, partly because I found them so out of context but also to assure myself that I wasn’t making this up. For over two years I took a picture of every banana skin I saw in a public place.

I ended up taking over 4000 pictures.

I found these skins tucked, placed, tossed, twisted, abandoned and flung in the most remarkable places. They peeked out from bushes, dangled off fences, languished in the sun. My eyes became tuned to this particular shade of yellow in the environment and I was never short of skins to photograph.

In collecting these shots, I got to know London on an intimate level. I got to know the palette of colours and textures that belong to this city, as well as its weather patterns, the movements of the people, the urban architecture, the visual rhythm that can be no other place. All this from the street-level, hidden perspective of this yellow rubbish that collected in the places nobody goes.

I always wanted to know what the skins were doing there, but I never found out. I don’t even know what this piece is about. It’s as much about our eating habits as it is about what we do with waste. It’s also about our hectic lifestyles and the ways we interact with our urban context. It’s about things out of context, it’s about a million slapstick jokes lying in wait and anticipating their moment to happen, life, sex and death, rebirth and decay. I get the feeling this piece isn’t over.

This is a small number of sample images from the extensive banana archive. There is a website with about 100 images on it where you can read more about the project, at best-bananas-13