Wednesday, June 28, 2006

John Vias - Fort Mason

John Vias , a local night photographer from Berkeley, CA, has a solo show titled “After Dark: Night Photos by John Vias” running through August 18th, in the Fort Mason Lobby, Building A, at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA (hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5:30pm, Sat & Sun 9am-5pm, Admission: free).

(photo: John Vias)

This will be John's first solo show. There will be a reception for the artist on Wednesday, July 5th, from 5:30pm-7pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Roger Vail

While we're on the subject of circusses and county fairs at night, if your local newspaper includes the LIFE: America's Weekend Magazine insert, take a look at the cover article "Go Ahead, Take a Spin", written by Garrison Keillor and photographed by Roger Vail.

(photo: Roger Vail)

I'm not usually a big fan of long exposures of ferris wheels, but Roger Vail has made an art of capturing the regular and irregular patterns of these rides at night. The small images in his website don't do justice to the full-page color images printed in the LIFE mini-magazine, but this webpage gives you a good taste of what his work looks like. The most amazing image, on page 7 of the LIFE mini-mag, isn't even represented in his website. But the cover image was taken near my home town at the San Mateo County Fair.

Looking at his work almost makes me want to go shoot some of these things, myself.

CORRECTION: Roger contacted me and pointed out that my favorite shot from the LIFE spread is actually available on his website right here. Thanks, Roger!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lane Hartwell

Six years ago I bought some colored gels from Lane Hartwell via the Nocturnes Message Board. A few years later she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and got involved with the local tribe of night photographers. I've been shooting with Lane and some of her co-consiparators for the past year.

(photo: Lane Hartwell)

Lane was the person who got me interested in Jeff Brouws' nighttime carnival work. Recently, she has spent a lot of time shooting both environment and the people of the local carnivals that have come through the East Bay. During the past month she has produced a lot of great work photographing the performers of the Circo Hermanos Cabellero.

(photo: Lane Hartwell)

You can see more carnival photographs here.

Most night photographers eventually find a specialty within the realm of nocturnal shooting. Abandoned buildings are always popular, as are beaches, cityscapes and maritime and industrial sites. But Lane is one of the few night photographers who has taken an interest in the tricky (i.e., "handheld") world of photographing people at night. She says she has always had a fascination with people who are living a little off the beaten path. She says that mixing her love of night photography with people was an accident, but she's finding it's working for her. She has discovered that abandoned sites, by themselves, are a little too lonely for her, and putting a person into the mix not only makes her feel better, but adds a sort of life to those places. Her dream was always to be a photojournalist, so projects such as Circo Hermanos Cabellero and the East Bay Rats works along those lines.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jeff Brouws

A few years ago I compiled a list of the most popular night photography books for the Nocturnes website. One of the books that came up the most often was "Inside the Live Reptile Tent: The Twilight World of the Carnival Midway" by Jeff Brouws.

(photo: Jeff Brouws)

This is one of those books that grows on you over time. When I first read it a few years ago, it didn't really appeal to me because it wasn't exclusively night photography, and it wasn't exclusively abandoned structures. In fact, part of the book's charm is that all the photographs are from actively working traveling carnivals. Some of them are taken at night, and some are taken on gloomy, overcast days when the carnivals are either setting up, tearing down, or maybe there's just nobody there. Many were taken during twilight.

Jeff Brouws has spent over 15 years photographing what cultural anthropologists refer to as T.O.A.D.S. (Temporary, Obsolete ,Abandoned, Derelict Sites). His compositions are perfect. The photographs are not only stunning to anyone interested in daytime, dusk or night photography, but these photographs also provide great anthropological insight into this uniquely American phenomemon of traveling carnivals. The book also includes a great textual description of the history of American carnivals.

Not only has this book become one of my favorites over the past month, but you can buy great copies used for less than $5.

Thanks to Lane Hartwell for getting me interested in this book.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Tom Paiva

I first saw Tom Paiva's night photography when I took the Nocturnes workshop back in 2002. Tom works in Los Angeles, where he is an established commercial photographer specializing in the maritime industry. Most of his work features heavy industrial locations lit with ambient, artificial light (e.g., sodium vapor and mercuy vapor).

(photo: Tom Paiva)

Tom is one of a small breed of night photographers who shoot large format (4"x5") negatives. He recently updated his website, which features a new layout and some great new work.

He also has a stunning, large-format book of his night photography titled "Industrial Night".

(photo: Tom Paiva)

And, if you're still clammering for more, Tom is also featured in my night photography documentary film, which you can view on-line for free.

Tom will be teaching at the Mono Lake Night Photography Workshop in August, along with Lance Keimig and Tim Baskerville.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Deborah Rourke

Deborah Rourke, a night photographer from the Santa Rosa, CA area, has recently updated her website.

(photo: Deborah Rourke)

I met Deborah at a Nocturnes night photography workshop back in in 2002. Since then, I have probably shot more nights with Deborah than I have with any other photographer. Since she is based well north of San Francisco, Deborah has lead a few of us on night photography jaunts around the city of Petaluma twice in the past two years. We already have plans in the works to photograph around Santa Rosa and more of Petaluma in the near future.

The above shot of the Oakland Bay Bridge was included in the Embarcadero Nocturnes exhibit at the South Beach Cafe in 2005.

If you missed it the first time, here is her website.

Friday, June 02, 2006

John Vias - East Bay Open Studios

John Vias, a night photographer from Berkeley, CA, will be participating in ProArts' East Bay Open Studios June 3rd & 4th, & 10th (not the 11th!), 2006.

(photo: John Vias)

East Bay Open Studios takes place over two consecutive weekends and involves over 400 artists.

John will have some new night photography work from the Berkeley and San Francisco area on display between 11am and 6pm at 916 Jones Street in Berkeley (here are a map and directions).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Troy Paiva, Urban Exploration and Night Photography

Troy Paiva's night photography site Lost America was included in Jonathan Haeber's Encarta article titled "Extreme Photography: Urban Exploration". This article is actually part of a larger set of articles on Career Training, which might seem unusual because I don't think very many photographers make a living from urban exploration. But, I may be wrong.

Urban exploration, by the way, refers to the examination of places that are usually off-limits to the rest of the world (we used to call it tresspassing when I was a kid, but now I know better because I'm more mature and more worldly). There has always been a big overlap between night photographers and urban explorers. Everyone has their own theories as to why that is. Wikipedia has a good introduction to urban exploration, along with links to more in-depth UE websites.

Thanks to Lance Keimig for finding this one.