(revised book version)
I was awarded a Somerville Arts Council Fellowship to photograph Somerville at night. The photographs in this book are the result of this project.
It took me a long time to learn that one does not have to go far to find subjects worthy of being photographed. I guess I am being helped by the fact that I am European, so, to my eyes, there is something “exotic” to the streets of Somerville that the locals may not notice. I believe that placing a subject in a different light, quite literally, is all it takes to make people see what has been there all along. I was once told that people rarely spend more than 3 seconds per image in a show. But viewers often spend much more time in front on my night photographs, because they notice so many details of their own neighborhood that they overlook during the day.
I am very interested in photographing urban or suburban locations that could be just about anywhere in the US, but frame the place in such a way, with such a light, that the viewer is compelled to think that something is about to happen, or has just happened. Night photography is very slow; I spend a lot of time next to the camera waiting for the exposure to end. During this time, I look around, I see objects or traces people have left hours, days, months before. I get to imagine their lives. This is what stimulates me to take my next picture, and the process never ends. There is almost never anybody visible in my pictures, but I think that ultimately, these pictures are about the people of Somerville, people I don't know, but people who could be very close to me.
Born in Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1964, Christian Waeber lived in Boston for 20 years, and recently relocated to Ireland. His photographs have been featured in View Camera, Preservation Magazine and Art-Photo-Akt, and exhibited at numerous locales in the US and in Europe. "Like Gregory Crewdson, Waeber brings an outsider’s eye to nocturnal urban locations, loading the familiar with a transcendent significance. As Waeber puts it, he wants to give his pictures the sense that they are “a beginning of a story.” Crewdson is most known for his pictures of tense protagonists who look like they’re on the cusp of a major life event. Waeber’s photographs, on the other hand, carry more oblique menace. Unlike Crewdson’s anonymous suburbias, Waeber’s images often contain recognizable landmarks in the Boston area. These differences add up to a more intensely personal interaction between the picture and viewer. " Minying Tan, Artscope (November/December 2008)
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