Photos from a car in the dead of night.
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Disconnected is a series of photographs taken from my car at night between 2010 and 2012, and again in 2017. They were created by placing my camera in the back seat, secured on top of your average cardboard box, and photographing through the passenger-side window or through the windshield, tripping the shutter with a cable release. The abstract, distorted nature of many of these photos are all in-camera effects, the result of photographing erratically moving objects from a moving car.
During the time leading up to when I began this series, I had been spending a lot of time driving aimlessly late at night and it occurred to me that these forays were metaphors for the feelings of loneliness, isolation and alienation that I had always felt, but that had become more acute at that point in my life. Driving through the city at night, passing people on the street, there was an apparent desire to be among others, but also a fear and mistrust that kept me isolated and protected within a moving shell of metal and plastic. Human, but not quite.
I began to experiment with photographing from my car during these late night drives. Shooting through the passenger window and the windshield. Shooting while the car was moving and when it wasn’t. Shooting at various technical settings. Over time, after hundreds of photos and some technical challenges, the look of the series began to take shape. It became important to me that the outline of the window frame, or the steering wheel, be present in the photos; a visual indication of the barriers between the camera and the subject to reinforce the sense of remoteness on the part of the photographer, a physical as well as mental aloofness.
The practical necessity of using longer shutter speeds to photograph at night without flash is also what gives the series its other defining feature — moving figures photographed with multi-second exposures as they walk, or drive, alongside my car often become abstract, distorted creatures. Human, but not quite.