The latest and final release in Australian photographer Tom Blachford’s long running project Midnight Modern will show at Michael Reid Sydney in February 2018. Loosening the shackles of Palm Springs and Mid Century, Blachford’s new exhibition of 8 works explores some of the outer reaches of the Modernist movement of architecture.
Midnight Modern is a surreal ode to the California desert oasis of Palm Springs and its cache of pristine Modernist architecture. Shot entirely at night, bathed in moonlight, the homes, vintage cars and scenery within are meant to appear as they did 60 years ago. Through Blachford’s imagery we join him on a fanciful, night-lit journey to the perpetual nucleus of Modern design and nostalgia for an era many of us are simply too young to have experienced otherwise.
For Blachford, the Modernist homes of California stand as shrines to hedonism, cocktails and the sun. By capturing the desert oasis under the light of a full moon Blachford reveals an alternative perspective, “For me it was alluring to show a dark side of the town so famous for its sunshine. The moonlight adds a dimension to things that is almost impossible for us to experience with our own senses.” (Architectural Digest, 1 February 2017).
California’s unique geography and climate gives rise to a distinct, deep blue sky; a midnight blue and moonlight ideal for Blachford’s long exposures: “Each image in the series, captured only by moonlight and devoid of people creates a stage that invites the viewer to script their own narrative behind the walls of these amazing Modernist masterpieces. The long exposure allows the camera to capture a world just beyond our perception and distill it into a single moment. Looking at the images it is easy to know where they were taken, but much more difficult to identify when, night or day, 2017 or 1957. In this sense the images act as portals in time where it seems these moments exist in both places at once.”
Midnight Modern has captured Palm Springs most iconic properties: the Kaufmann Desert House, Edris House and Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate. Blachford’s new and powerful Midnight Modern IV will follow the path of Modernism to some of California’s most alien landscapes including John Lautner’s visionary Sheats Goldstein Residence and the The Black Desert House by Oller and Pejic.
Feature by Elle Murrell for The Design Files, 19 Jan 2018: http://thedesignfiles.net/2018/01/tom-blachfords-midnight-modern-iv/