I photograph in the dark. Night brings on a subtle curfew, emptying streets and sidewalks. The even sunlight of the day gives way to dramatic pools of light, creating impromptu stages where the actors never arrive.
Photographing at night is like shooting a movie all in one frame. Time is compressed, movement is frozen. What's left is stillness and quiet.
My home and studio are in the Berkeley, California, neighborhood called “Ocean View,” an agricultural community before the University of California arrived. Now it includes a marina, factories, stores, homes, and parks. Like many before me, I drove past them without much thought. They were just shapes in my peripheral vision, vague landmarks on my journeys home.
But because I want to inspire you to see the beauty in the everyday, I took a closer look. Just as I have elsewhere, I find beauty here, even in the industrial sites. Strong lines and unusual shapes draw my eye, and the often unknown purpose and history of these structures add to the mystery. The interaction of the minutes-long exposures, the film, and the light creates otherworldly colors.
My work is an invitation to slow down. And look.
John Vias wanders around in the dark taking pictures. His award-winning night photography has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and other art venues. Vias’s work has won awards in juried shows and has been reprinted in the press. It hangs in public, private, and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad. John Vias (rhymes with “bias”) was born in Evanston, Illinois. He lives and works in Berkeley, California. You can preview his work at his website, johnvias.com.
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