A New Day Starts Here

A New Day Starts Here highlights the changes to how we live, work and move, and how we adapt to our environment, create new habits, and set new goals.

This four part series follows four people who are at the intersection of creative curiosity and their athletic pursuit.

James Whiting is a photographer based in Melbourne who, beyond just images, is self-confessedly just 'really, really into ideas' wherever they might be – sculpture, text, fashion, music, sidewalk hopscotch... He's been an on-and-off runner for the last 7-8 years, opting more towards 'on' in the most recent years, personal best-ing a handful of Half-Marathons and heading over the states to tag into The Speed Project – all alongside his AM:PM family. He's also recently tapped into a bit of a meditation practice and apparently 'doesn't really know what he's doing', but is doing it all the same.

James shares his days through both the simplicity and complexcity of life. 

A very poorly timed screen-grab of a virtual consult with my legend of a podiatrist, figuring out how to put my foot back together.

How do you design your life through movement?

Movement is such a problem solver. Not only intellectually in work and physically in achieving goals, but emotionally too.

In a lot of ways I think how, what and where I move informs how I’m able to show up in the world.

It’s a space for so many things – concept generation, a place to connect with mates, an emotional frustration burner. Regardless of whether it’s a short walk or a 4x 4KM run workout. 

Tell us how the way you live, work and move has changed.

I added a consistent but pretty casual meditation practice, daily morning walks, lots more sleep, steady physical rehab, a lot of time on the bike, a new home and a bit of a reworked relationship with myself.

Next to this I had the chance to clean-up a few things. Mainly the habit to criticise myself against paradigms, pathways or standards that I don’t actually believe in. There’s been a bunch of corners turned and hard truths but mostly that it’s unspeakably important to have faith in the future. And that’s something I’m still really working on.

Coincidentally, right in the midst of all that reflection I found this quote from Ram Dass – “Start from where you are — not where you wish you were. The work you're doing becomes your path.” I essentially stared at that for about three days after first seeing it.

Some days, I meditate on this bench....

Using the Headspace app in conjuction with the Apple iPhone 11...
 ....Other days, on this bench.

... And also using the Breathe app on the iPhone for my practice too. 

How does change affect you?

I think actually the current forced change and stagnation has just pushed me to engage with all that’s right in front of me, as opposed to jumping into new things. I started some online poetry courses and little new things like that, but my standard disposition is to jump around from new thing to new thing, spreading myself really thin eventually. Focusing my energy on all the things right in front of me that needed work was really how that change played out.

Change in general can be a hell of a thing, epsecially if you don’t exactly have any say in what it is that’s changing.. 

How has your sense of time been affected?

There were definitely times where I had to triple check what day it was. Days also tend to feel a lot longer and more empty without the standard blocks of time that would usually fill them too. Gigs, workouts, commute time, shoots, etc.

I’ve tried to replace looking at my phone on morning walks with reading a book.
As of today I’ve only tripped once and walked into two small poles.

Some days when I walk, I buy a coffee from Assembly.
Other days, I don’t.

As a person who runs - what types of things did you notice internally when you ran. What did you notice externally when you ran in comparison to other times.

I’ve been really on and off with running recently due to a barrage of injuries. it's been a pretty limited viewing, but one particular thing was just how inventive people are getting with their outdoor strength workouts. And similarly, since most of us are getting out there solo and a lot are running for the first time, there's this sense of unity going on in physical movement. At least in my eyes. You might not stop and chat, or necessarily even lock eyes, but you see people as more than another runner and really feel the effort people are putting in to do their thing and keep life moving forward. That's really exciting. 

Switching to two wheels, a chain and crank recently, how did your newish experiences of riding feel over the last while? Did it alter things in other areas of your life?

The bike has been nothing less than a savour. I think when I was maybe 12 or 13 I’d ride my BMX bike around after school for hours, so in a way it feels like a bit of a revisiting to that time, when I was first trying to assert some sort of independence or personal physical agency. On the surface it’s a great way to keep the legs in tune, but it’s been much more about, in comparison to running and walking, the ability to go so much further, faster. In a time where I’ve felt very much severed off from a lot of life, it’s been a tool to explore and seriously reestablish a sense of connection to the world around me. And that connection is absolutely more mental than it is physical.

Views from some very late night Albert Park tempo action

Tracked using the Apple Watch Series 5 and the Strava app.

This is kind of what it looks like when I open my eyes after meditating for a little while. Kind of...

Can you describe your meditation and mindful practice?

It’s nothing too prescribed but it usually it coincides with a morning walk. About 5-15 minutes using a simething like Headspace (their new ‘pro-course’ is really great if you find the prompts super distracting but still need slight guidance) and Insight Timer.

For a while there I was only meditating on the really tough days, where ‘I needed’ some sort of effort towards ease of mine or mental space. But along the way I started to take the same time on the easier days too.

Through your observations as a photographer, has what you have photographed changed, or come with different meaning and purpose? Has your relationship to photography changed?

My relationship to photography has definitely been very interesting and highly interrogated recently. With so much happening in the world in a human-welfare dimension, making most kinds of images seems a lot less urgent than they used to.
I think also there was a point where I stopped looking at images as such a primary way to express ideas and feelings, and from that I’m currently tinkering with ways of stepping into a much more creative strategy or ideation space. For the last year even, poetry and sculpture have fascinated me for new reasons and, in very different ways, feel like much more direct or articulate tools of communication.

The practice of moving – running/cycling – and the practice of photography - in your experience and personally, do they inform each other, do they share a relationship.

If yes, if no - why?

I think on a personal development level, my approach to and engagement with running has really impacted on who I am inside and outside my work.

Both in physical ability and in mental or emotional discipline, resilience and composure. In a creative practice, I’m able to work toward articulating solutions, experiences and emotions in ways that feel most true, primarily to myself but also the brief or concept at hand. None of this happens everyday, but it’s the reason you keep coming back.

But really, a thought I’ve been playing with recently has been that at the base of it all, it’s about communicating your truth. In running, and coming from being that overweight kid in sport class with a note from his mum, it is and has been one of the few spaces where I can move towards and assert who, at my core, I know I can be. It was never really about just ‘being fit’, it was always about moving towards something. 

Someone in a podcast lately mentioned that, at it’s best, most potent times, when you really get out there physically, it’s like you shed a skin. I couldn’t agree more with that. You’d think it would just be the ‘skin’ of your former athletic self, but it is so much more than that.

Tracking runs with the Apple Watch Series 5 and the Strava app.

Any extra notes from the week?

Maybe just a couple of highlighst for the ears..

League of Champs: David Perry – A podcast that’s been on repeat a few times. Lots of good thoughts on defeat, injury/recovery and the future came from this.

The Ocean Party: The Oddfellows Hall –This album has been on repeat recently. Specifically this song, Better, What It’s Worth and Rain On Tin. The songwriting is stunning

And this absolute HIT.


I love fog
almost as much
as this guy
must love basketball.

I also love basketball.

Apps used on iPhone 11
Camera, Podcast, Workout, Strava, Spotify, Photos, Headspace, Insight Timer, Notes, Calculator, Weather, Maps, Sleep++, Watch, Netflix.

Apps used on Apple Watch Series 5 
Podcast, Workout, Strava, Spotify, Headspace, Breathe, Sleep++, Weather.

You can see more of what James gets up to via his Instagram account.
Neighbourhood hopscotch A lil' short one to loosen up from a 20KM day before Some visual moments lately

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