Nick Brandt - Three Rhinos, Nakuru
Nick Brandt
Three Rhinos, Nakuru
Archival Pigment Photograph
2007, Printed 2010
20 1/12 x 20 1/2 inches
Signed, dated and # 17/25 on recto

At Night: Images in The Half Light

02/11/2012 - 03/10/2012


The camera was originally known as a 'dark chamber' in which latent images appeared inverted and in darkness. Ever since the birth of the medium, photography has been defined as a gathering of light and a bringing light out of darkness.

"At Night: Images in the Half Light" is an exhibition that plays on both the literal aspects of night and the metaphoric concept of darkness. Night can be a time of great mystery and hidden meanings. In Michael Massaia's platinum landscapes of Central Park, abandoned houses, and closed amusement parks light takes on an eerie, incandescent quality. The exposures are made between 2:00 and 5:00 A.M. with a large format camera that records and defines the light that comes out of darkness. His is a world akin to the theatrical pictures of Atget, in which the dramas of the day are given a respite. In Neil Folberg's "Celestial Skies" the heavens and the earth are displayed as thousands of points of light. We are brought into a photographaphic world inspired by the awe and timeless mystery of biblical landscapes. Folberg has used a scientific, high speed film to shed light into a world that literally expands into infinity. In the photographic work of Michael Kahn the waxing and waning light dissolves day into night. He has produced large, beautiful, expressionistic landscapes that are steeped in a mood of nostalgia.

Photography derives from the Latin, "drawing with light." Night serves as the backdrop in which the photographer can record, or draw, an almost infinite patterning of light and create a world either real or invented. On a metaphoric level night is a time of darkness which , by its nature, conceals objects, people, and locations. A shifting continuum between revealing versus concealing allows for multiple investigations into the mysteries of human behavior. Dovetailed to this is the quest to explore the division of public versus private lives. Under the mantle of darkness the secret passions of life escape public scrutiny. In Brassai's photographs from "The Secret Paris of the 30's" a private nightlife of Paris was recorded for posterity. This was the first body of photographic work that brought to the public the illicit human dramas that unfolded in the streets and private chambers of Parisian nights. In the photographs of George Lewis the private lives of the privileged elite in the Middle East are recorded. Behind veils, abbayahs and burqas Lewis examines the private lives of men and woman whose behavior is steeped in mystery and unwritten rules. As ultimate voyeurs, we in the West have an insufficient background to interpret their codes and mores. In some of Harry Benson's most memorable pictures night time, private clubs and extravagant parties allow him a chance to bring into light a world that otherwise would remain invisible to us. He shoots life in 'real time' with events that only happen once and vanish forever.

In summation the photographs in "At Night: Images in the Half Light" blur the lines between day and night, dark and light, public and private, universal and personal. Night is a time of mystery but photography helps bring these mysteries into light and give meaning to the rich fabric of our collective lives.