I don’t claim to have invented night pictures of gas stations or a taxonomy of industrial and commercial structures (the Bechersdid that in the last century). But I see more and more of my photography as theatre. The background is a ‘set’ and sometimes the right ‘actors’ hit their mark in front of it.
Gas stations are lit artificially like stages for a spectacle but there are few people present and sometimes none at all. Something momentous is about to happen—exchanging a few dollars for fuel pumped out of a tank below your feet never looked so important.
The gas station is a place full of energy.
My approach to ‘the decisive moment’ has drawn on the notion of music or dance in the sense that I have used the static wall art as a given—like a musical score—and improvised upon it with the people who happened into the frame. I am starting to view my work more and more as spectacle: performers who take their place momentarily against a set.
Black and white photography used to be the norm because… well, because there wasn’t anything else. Now, black and white is a conscious choice. And for a place like New York City, sometimes it’s a choice that fits.
Faces in the Crowd
For as long as I can remember, I have felt ambivalent about crowds. They can bring people together in common cause or they can just be a seemingly-random cluster of people in the same place, at the same time. Crowds can unite people in celebration, but they can also be destructive—a mob is capable of things that its individual members would never dare do. A crowd may be a setting for shared experience and feeling, or it may be a very lonely place.
Where do we go in our heads when we’re both alone and surrounded by people?
London at Night
In a big city like London, the lights at night are supporting actors in dramas that star all kinds of people.
Canal de la Villette
The Canal de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement of Paris has been a reservoir for drinking water, an industrial canal and is now a recreational lake. On summer days its banks are lined with fishermen, strollers, cyclists and pétanque players. Even in cooler weather and at night it remains a lively place.