Tom Blachford – Midnight Modern, Series Three

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The series Midnight Modern began one clear night, when Melbourne-based photographer Tom Blachford walked through the streets of Palm Springs. Now it has become an ongoing project, spanning over the course of three years. The moon, modernist architecture, and the mountains are the main characters in the images, which are all suffused in a dreamlike atmosphere. “I am fascinated by this feeling that the city is both nostalgic and current. It transports you back in time to these houses and this scenery—to this lifestyle that has been there for 70 years,” the artist says. If the first series was shot covertly, Blachford has received the full support of the homeowners for the third chapter of the project. With the help of The Palm Springs Modern Committee and Modernism Week the artist even gained access to iconic properties, including the Kaufmann Residence and Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms. This series features the same breathtaking aesthetic, with subtle changes made from the first works. The stars, previously shown as smudges or lines due to the longer exposure, are now static, while wet roads and vintage cars add a cinematic accent and enhance the painterly quality of the photographs. All of the cars, apart from one, match the period of the 1957-1965 properties. Interestingly, these images taken at night show the true beauty of this captivating city, a beauty that seems to be subtly diluted when bathed in the brightness of the sunshine. Midnight Modern will be shown at ART16 Olympia in London from 20 to 22 May 2016, with a solo exhibition opening at the Blackeye Gallery in Sydney on 24 May and running through 11 June 2016. Images courtesy of Tom Blachford.

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