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.
This evening I had an interesting phone call from a former member of 1189 Portsmouth Squadron ATC who had found one of my projects on my website while researching. Having been a member of the squadron all the way back in the 50’s he was seeking to show his grandchildren some of his past.
Photography has a responsibility to trigger nostalgia and to evidence the past. As photographers we are professional observers who’s job it is to document the world around us.
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.
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.