MIDNIGHT MODERN – BY TOM BLACHFORD
What began for Tom Blachford as a fateful discovery one night has developed into an ongoing series and journey of discovery into the interplay between architecture, moonlight and the mountains. The elements combined yield a cinematic result that invites the viewer to complete their own narrative beyond the single frame. The evocative results have captivated Blachford he has revisited Palm Springs for 5 full moons, including a Super Moon, over the course of 2 years.
Buildings, let alone houses, are not naturally evocative subjects for a photographer; they are not as romantic as a landscape, as complex as a face, as dynamic as a figure. Tom Blachford, in focusing on the famed midcentury homes of Palm Springs, California, approaches the challenge of the built environment with the subtlest of touches. Like a calligraphist, he understands the importance of the simple, skilled gesture; of emphasis and understatement. He shoots by moonlight, front-on, close to midnight. He chooses long exposures, so that stars become elongated strokes as the Earth rotates on its axis. Devoid of people, his photographs evoke the otherworldliness of a Gregory Crewdson mise en scene, or a David Lynch film. But there are no tricks here: no post-production touch-ups, no artificial lighting, just the supernatural glow of the Supermoon, and the odd, eerie accent of domestic and garden lights. The surrounding hills and desert vegetation appear like sentinels in the emptiness. There is a sense of unease: cracks in the road, long shadows, a solitary light left on. Heavy with heat and silence, Blachford’s photographs have an ambiguity, a mystery, a tension. They are like a story about to start, end, or implode.
MAY 24 – JUNE 11 2016