Isambard Brunel Car Park

As part of an ongoing exploration of the non-place I am closing in on several categories of space.  The view is to create a typology of non-place.  A photographic record of the world around us.  A world which we frequent on a regular basis but rarely think of as anything special.

In this particular instance I visited a 24 hour car park in the city of Portsmouth.  Car parks at night have always been photographically attractive to me and I’ve often referred to them as ‘playgrounds of light’.

The car park in question has motion activated lighting, so as to save on energy bills.  This feeds directly in to the notion of place and space.  This mundane of structures stands in the darkness while disused but springs to life when the motion lights are triggered.  This illumination converts that place in to a space with the presence of humans.  The presence of a purpose.

The Revolving Door and a Namesake

During my thoughts and explorations on the subject of Life and Death I have often thought of hospitals and the role they of course play.  Every day people breath their last breath while someone else somewhere is breathing their first.

Over four years ago on the death of my grandmother I couldn’t help but visualise what a beautiful image that scene would have made.  The lights were off, only the soft natural light of the evening coming through the window was present.  She was laying in the same position I had visited her in only 30 minutes before when she was still alive and had made eye contact with me.

What a beautiful photograph this scene would have made, I didn’t capture it through the knowledge that it would get a mixed response from family members.  This lead to the time surrounding the arrival of our new daughter, an empty single room in the hospital was just asking to be photographed, so I did.  The interesting thing being that this particular room was in the same part of the hospital that my grandmother had passed away in and a similar position only three floors lower.

The revolving door of life sees time begin and time end, often only meters apart from each other.

There is another element to this story as our new daughter bares the name of my late grandmother ‘Alice’, a deliberate tribute to a strong, very wise and sorely missed women (pictured below meeting my eldest daughter Cleo 7 years ago).

The exploration continues

The exploration of non-place has continued its journey through in city petrol stations.

As from a previous post a non-place is an area designed for use by humans but is not permanently occupied by us, examples include airports, train stations, supermarkets and of course fuel stations.

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The original interest came from a photographic project during my degree looking at the world of A Road Petrol Stations photographed at night time.  The fuel stations are an example of non-place and the idea behind photographing them at night time was to cause a feeling of isolation but also as a beacon of safety in the dark.

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The original outline of the project was the fuel stations had to be outside of urban areas and on stretches of A Road which have few or no street lights.  The main idea behind that is it reduces the amount of light pollution creating a sky which is an even deeper black thus accentuating the isolation.

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A Road Petrol Stations at Night – an award winning, critically acclaimed documentary photography piece

One of my many on going projects has been ‘A Road Petrol Stations at Night’, a study of the non-place and world of the night time service area.  My initial interest in these places came about after reading ‘Non-Places’ by Marc Auge but what is a non-place? A non-place is anywhere we as people occupy for a temporary amount of time, they are built and made for us but we don’t live there.  Examples of non-places include supermarkets, airports, hotels and, of course, service stations.

The A Road service area at night is very much a non-place and emerge from the deep darkness that comes from night time driving.  The visual style of the photographs was to create this expanse of negative space using the dark of the night, isolating the subject and making it feel both secluded but also welcoming and safe.

The series is constantly growing and all the photographs so far have been shot using a large format technical camera using 5×4″ colour film (Kodak Portra 160).

Further exploration of non-places

I’ve started experimenting with an idea I’ve had for a while.  One of my many on going projects has been ‘A Road Petrol Stations at Night’, a study of the non-place and world of the night time service area.  My initial interest in these places came about after reading ‘Non-Places’ by Marc Auge but what is a non-place? A non-place is anywhere we as people occupy for a temporary amount of time, they are built and made for us but we don’t live there.  Examples of non-places include supermarkets, airports, hotels and, of course, service stations.

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A27 Westbound – Copyright Andrew Paul Hayward 2014-

The A Road service area at night is very much a non-place and emerge from the deep darkness that comes from night time driving.  The visual style of the photographs was to create this expanse of negative space using the dark of the night, isolating the subject and making it feel both secluded but also welcoming and safe.

Although distinctly less isolated, my attention has shifted in this side project to similar service areas found in and around where we live.  Set aside from the A Road service stations, these images are a documentary exploration.  The original series of images can be found here.