I shoot at night. Not exclusively, but that’s kind of my main project and what most of my public showing is about these days. I also largely shoot in black and white. More about that in a bit.
Why shoot at night? There are a lot of reasons I like to do this, but mostly it’s because I like how different the city is at night. The artificial light and the deep pools of shadow form spaces and compositions that can transform something otherwise mundane into something totally unique and unexpected. Like anything in photography, it’s all about light.
I have a long road in photography, I’m 52, live in Minneapolis and have been taking photos, off and on, since I was 13. A little over a year ago a few things came together. First, I was looking for a project. I’d been shooting a lot of general stuff with the only consistent theme that all my images were taken outside. I was getting bored trying to be a “general” photographer - I wanted to get good at something, I wanted to understand a subject. Second, I’d already been doing some night time work, some sky shots from various locations both in and out of the city, with mixed results. I liked it (and still do) but as a city dweller, my options are limited because of light pollution.
The thing that pushed me over the edge into shooting the city at night was a podcast called Nocturne, hosted by Vanessa Lowe. I’d been listening to it for a while, enjoying the stories of people that live, work, or have had adventures, at night. An idea began to come into my head, I wondered if there was a way to capture *visually* something about the night in the same way Vanessa was able to do it through stories. Was there some visual dynamic to the night that really captured the way you feel when you’re outside at 2am?
If someone offered to take you, all expenses paid, to a new place, a new culture, a little adventurous, would you go? A lot of us photographers like to go to new places, observe, take photos, and come back and share those stories through our photos with our friends, family and larger audiences. If this is something you like, then here is your trip: get up some morning at 2:30am and go for a walk around your neighborhood. If you have never visited this time, I promise it will be as thrilling an experience as visiting a new country or culture.
Simply, the world is *different* after dark. It sounds both cliche and obvious, but especially late at night it really is. My idea has been to attempt to capture this feeling photographically.
I’ve been doing this now for a just over a year, I started this project in August 2017. The very first session I did was simply to take my camera and at 2am one sunday morning ride the same bike commute I do most days. It was something totally familiar, and while I had done it in the dark during the winter months, I’d never done it to simply look around (or at 2am). It was fascinating!
In the year since that early morning ride, I have had a great time finding the dusty corners of the city, the dark alleys and hidden doorways, and even the more mundane parts, like the closed shop windows and overly bright bus stops. Most sessions are a small adventure of sorts, and I hope to share some of these as I got forward. There is a lot to explore.