Lightscapes

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Lightscapes

Working on ‘Lightscapes’, I have been exploring the night in a new way, stripping away normal visual references to focus not on the landscape itself, but on the vivid scars of light that pierce the darkness. Vast industrialised cities and iconic landmarks are represented as anonymous patterns of light, whilst the contours of buildings are stripped away to reveal the contents within.

-James Reeve.

I'll never forget sitting in a lecture room as a student, listening to the lecturer talk about the birth of modernity through the night sky lit by light. For those people who first encountered the artificial light of electricity at night in large cities, it was a frightening, almost traumatic experience, that was also simultaneously exciting. Imagine it: being used to the night being completely dark, and suddenly, it is lit by emanating specks.

This is why I find James Reeve's photography project, "Lightscapes", so fascinating, because it highlights what we now take for granted: the seductiveness of the city landscape at night, speckled by light. I find his use of the term "scar" striking here, because it evokes the vivid trauma of light to those used to the dark at the dawn of the modern age. It also suggests layers hidden beneath the scar, almost as if the lights that form his night-time landscapes are the doorway to the interior heart of the city.

Watching the city at night has to be one of my favourite things to do. At night, you can imagine a city as an autonomous entity. It's both isolating and comforting. I could stare at these photos all day, they almost seem to have an emotional visual language to them.

All images copyright James Reeve. Found via Kulte tumblr.

23 comments:

If Jane said...

i have some vivid memories of places etched in my brain from only the light at night...( une cicatrice is one of my fav words in french).

pRiyA said...

these pictures are pretty amazing even more so in the context of what james reeve says about his work and what you have written about in this post. makes me think about city lights differently now.

Tana said...

This project is awesome,very beautiful!

Enia Is (Almost) Here said...

i'm with you. detaching yourself to look at it is equal to seeing a sprawling creature breathe, sigh, blink of its one. and it is a beautiful one too. i haven't done that in such a long while, just sat and watched the city below. i really should... thanks hila.

Felix Curds said...

so lovely, I particularly love the 6th picture. it reminds me of spying on people when staying in hotels during vacations haha:)

Sarah said...

oooooh, beautiful! i love the first one - it's so colorful! for some reason, i don't think i remember really gazing at the city at night. i should perhaps do that soon. this is lovely. x

Design Elements said...

beyond words! great

Olga said...

I'm new to this blog. I really enjoy the subtle, interesting, and very informative writing. All the subjects you have touched on concern me personally. I love the styles that you choose for each piece.
This last post brought back some of my memories of flying at night.

Rina said...

Spectacular! I love this kind of work, not only arty, very philosophical too, great!

Felicity said...

The first image took me swiftly back in time and place to a rooftop in Buenos Aires.
I was visiting from a small town in Australia where the tallest structure was a water tower and the population was....well small.

I recall standing in the night air, bedazzled by the beauty of the lights and the immensity of this city which stretched to the horizon whichever way I looked at it.

And then of course, I fell in love, but that's a whole other story indeed.

Felicity x
www.giftsofserendipity.com

Brenda said...

I instantly fell in love with that second shot. I checked out his work... it's amazing.

Marinka said...

wow those shots are breathtaking :)

elias said...

Thanks for stopping by at mine. You have a beautiful blog!

P R I M O E Z A said...

oh, love these.
this post reminds me of flying into singapore at night. from above, all the city lights formed this hard, glittery 'crust' on the earth. it made me wonder why humans are so obsessed with shiny, sparkly things (and how much we've altered the natural environment).

CloudyKim said...

Wow, I agree! They're so inspiring to look at, and I like how we can see a new dimension to cities and other clusters of light.

Petra said...

interesting photos. they make me somewhat uncomfortable, and I'm not quite sure why.... thanks for sharing!

Krunal said...

these pictures are AMAZING!!!!

bronwyn said...

Really beautiful. Whenever we encounter a view like this, which is often, my daughter always points it out and says something along the lines of "We live in a city of sparkles, mama."

I am especially fond of the image of the windows. I always wonder what is going on inside the windows that are lit up at night.

hila said...

I really loved reading your responses to this particular post, thanks everyone. I'm particularly struck by the personal tone of these responses, which to me echo the tone of the photos themselves.

anabela / fieldguided said...

I love this. The last time I flew over the United States (rather than over water) I wanted to look out the window the whole night, just to see the grids and patterns below. Flying over Los Angeles was particularly amazing... the grids of light seemed endless.

Des said...

hila, have you seen the film, "Never Let Me Go?"
I'd be very interested to hear what your reaction was to this film adaptation.

Katie said...

i thought for a bit when you posed the scenario "imagine it: being used to the night being completely dark, and suddenly, it is lit by emanating specks."

i don't think i can ever really, truly understand what it feels like to cross over from nature's darkness to man-made light as a child born with the luxury of electricity.

the project is beautiful, though. i absolutely adore art/beauty that comes from our everyday lives. things that are simply just there, all the time.

hila said...

anabela: yes, these images remind me of flying at night, and I have that same feeling of anticipation, yet isolation, through them.

des: I'm going to see it next week :) a friend on mine also bought me the dvd from america, but I want to experience it in the cinemas first. I'll do a review!

katie: I remember the lecturer talking about how people were really scared and thought it was the "devil's work" :) hmmm ...