WARRINGTON Contemporary Arts Festival is bringing a brand new photography exhibition exploring the world after dark to town.
Night Edge is a captivating new collection on display at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, documenting life in the city after hours.
Telling the stories of deserted streets to blue light services, Night Edge charts these nocturnal hours; from the local landmarks that are brought to life through darkness, to the firefighters, midwives, clock repairers and transient walkers who wander the world at night.
Bringing this vision to life are three local artists: Estelle Cadwallader, Hazel Hughes, and Eli Regan, who all relished the opportunity to portray areas of Warrington, Manchester and London after hours.
Hazel explained: “Creating all of these images was both exhilarating and humbling. The landscapes around the town allowed us time to play, explore and be creative, but the more typical story-telling portraits gave us a window into nightshift workers that was both enlightening and awe-inspiring.”
The trio used a combination of traditional documentary photography and long exposure shots, which involved opening the aperture of the camera up for longer periods of time (sometimes up to 30 seconds), rather than the usual split-second “snap”.
Indulging in this technique allowed the photographers to become really creative, and Estelle in particular enjoyed playing around with this idea in some of her old haunts.
She explained: “One night shoot I really enjoyed was for the “Smiths tribute – Night Rave” image. I spent a lot of happy weekends out dancing in Mr Smiths when I was younger, so we decided to set up a camera on a tripod and opened the shutter for 25 seconds, and for those 25 seconds – without caring what passing cars thought – myself and Hazel raved around holding a light in our hands. Now Mr Smiths is just a forgotten, empty space, but I feel the final image is a fitting tribute to all those who, like me, loved dancing on that spot back when Mr Smiths was the place to be.”
Night Edge opens at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery today and stays open until Saturday September 15.
Delighted by the outcome of the photographs, the team are now hoping to follow up their work with a new series, which could feature the current exhibition on display at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery.
Hazel said: “I’m really pleased with the finished images, but it has certainly whet my appetite for more night-time photography. The night is dark and full of treasures, and we’ve only just begun to discover them.”
Eli added: “There’s a quote by Vincent van Gogh that says: “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day”, and I hope that people come away with this idea too. The night is beautiful: endlessly alluring, random and melancholic.”
As the team prepare to present their exhibition to the public this weekend, Hazel is hoping that their work will inspire more people to take the time to appreciate the world in darkness.
She said: “There are two things that I hope people will take from Night Edge: firstly, I want to inspire people to notice their night-time surroundings. To turn out the lights and let their eyes adjust to the dark, and to be delighted and surprised by the details of the night. Secondly, I see our portraits as a toast to the dedicated workers who keep our emergency services ticking over during the night. I hope that people leave our exhibition with a renewed appreciation for these dedicated night-owls.”