Tell us more about these 2 images and your series?
Both shots, like almost all of my Nightshift series, were taken on Medium Format slide film. The Petrol Pumps image was a location I had driven past a few times, and knew it had potential, so I made a mental note of it and I thought about what would heighten the mood I wanted to convey. It had a sense of longing to it, of a calling and that the silence would be almost deafening in the right situation. I knew it had to be at night, on slide film, and I later realised it had to be foggy weather.
The reason for this was I could imagine how the hues of orange at night would be enriched on slide film in misty conditions. So when the time came, I drove out. It was late on a Saturday night and around Midnight. The garage was shut, which was what I needed because it would fulfill my need for the longing and calling I mentioned earlier, like the petrol pumps somehow had a spirit or soul to them and were waiting for something. I took about 12 shots from various angles, but it wasnt until I went to the back of the garage forecourt and shot looking back across it at the pumps that the location really came alive.
+ Midnight Oil
The shot was entirely unplanned. It was the coldest night I can remember of last Winter. It was January and I had gone out late to shoot a few locations I had planned as further work to the Nightshift series. I got those images down and the fog rolled in very thickly. It was so cold my hands hurt. Undeterred, I drove round to make use of the atmospheric conditions, and after seeing a quiet, dimly lit road, decided to investigate as something told me it was going to be worthwhile. Im glad I did, as I got this shot and one other which turned out pretty well. I parked up and wandered round on foot with my tripod and 6×9 camera.
It was by now very late, around 1am, so very few people were still awake. I turned a corner and was immediately struck by the bright light coming from one house and it made me think this has to be the subject of a photograph. To me it looked very cinematic, and I wondered who was living there, were they lonely, were they old, young, things like that. I had to get the shot, and was taken by a rush of adrenaline for fear the light would suddenly ‘BLINK’ – go out. I had to frame it with something in the foreground and the van was positioned really well for perspective and finally, the light of the streetlamp and swirling fog made for a the right ambiance and composition. Very simple, but fairly effective I think. One shot only was taken. This is it.
Danny Rowton – film photographer from Southend, Essex, UK