In March 2010, photographer Martin Bond decided to snap a portrait of his hometown every day. Titled A Cambridge Diary, the project captured subjects such as tango dancers, swans, commuters and even King Charles.
Bond tells the Guardian’s Donna Ferguson he wanted to showcase scenes in Cambridge, England, that tourists don’t usually see, while simultaneously rekindling the love locals feel for the city.
“The power of capturing everyday moments reminds us that we’re human. There’s a connectedness that we sometimes take for granted or are not aware of,” he adds. “All I’m really doing is just tuning in to those little personal moments and interactions that happen thousands of times over, in every street, because they chime with me, and I think they will chime with others.”
Now, 5,000 photos and 13 years later, Bond has decided to conclude the project.
The final image, which he shared on social media last Wednesday, features a full moon resting symmetrically between the turrets of an illuminated King’s College Chapel.
“I knew the moment I pressed the shutter that I wanted it to be the last photograph of my daily pictures, not just because this frame is undoubtedly the most recognizable view in Cambridge, but because, for me, the full moon symbolizes a moment of release and completion and a time to sit in the fullness of life and feel grateful for my blessings,” Bond wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The full moon is also associated with madness, of which I must have had a portion to have stuck with this for so long!”
In the post, he thanked those who have followed his journey, as well as those who have appeared in his pictures—including bikers, gardeners, rabbits, squirrels and the Dalai Lama. He added that he will continue sharing photos, although not daily.
“[Five thousand] seems to be a nice, round figure, and I did kind of want to relieve the pressure of doing it every day,” the photographer tells BBC News’ Lewis Adams, adding that he will “miss it tremendously,” as the project feeds him “psychologically and emotionally.”
Originally shared through a Facebook page, the diary currently has over 100,000 followers across several platforms, including Instagram and X. Bond tells Cait Findlay of Cambridgeshire Live that he originally planned to end the diary after ten years, but he decided to continue when the pandemic began. “Everywhere I go, I keep seeing potential for a photograph,” he says. “It’s a low level of vigilance that you carry with you all the time.”
Although A Cambridge Diary has come to an end, Bond continues to create. This fall, the photographer released his first book, Town and Gown, which showcases a curated selection of 365 images captured during the initial seven years documented in his diary. The 224 full-color pages display scenes from everyday life and celebrate the multifaceted city.
According to the Guardian, Bond eventually intends to review approximately 25,000 photos taken since 2010, which he will use to compile two additional collections.
After building such a large portfolio, he is struck by how many meanings can be assigned to a single image. As he writes on his website, “The best thing about street photography ... is that it is possible for the final viewer of a picture to see more than the original photographer—proof, if any were needed, that there is more going on in any moment than a single person can understand.”