One of the primary inventions that brought forward humanity was the invention of fire. Fire allowed us to populate hostile environments that would not allow our survival. It allowed us to overcome darkness, thus pushing back the unknown to leave small islands of relative comfort. Our fears were mostly pushed behind the edge of consciousness, but not completely annihilated. More often than we wish to admit, these fears break through and haunt us, allowing us no other escape than to follow daily routines in an almost mechanical way. By contrast, night is often a break from such routines allowing us to follow other less purposeful occupations.
In our contemporary urban environment light is ubiquitous even during night time – up to the point where we have to care about light pollution – but it is still less abundant than daylight by several orders of magnitude. One of the side effects of the sparseness of light is a neat change in vision: Our color perception diminishes. The ultimate lack of color emphasizes structure – sometimes up to abstractness – and reduces our focus to the primary concerns. Several of the images in this book are almost painting-like, showing us ordinary sights literally in a completely different light.
The use of ultra high speed film with its strong grain and high contrast brings a certain roughness that supports the subliminal discomfort in line with the evolutionary fears generally associated with the darkness of the night. Still, this journey is not a rough ride, but a contemplative trip through various nightly European cities including encounters with several of their inhabitants. Bon voyage!
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