In my series of photographs, Nightlight, I wander through the United States, in the darkness with a 6×6 Rolleiflex from the 1950’s, photographing relics of an American Dream in decline. I do this with a feeling of wonder at the beauty these sites acquire under the low light of the moon and the streetlights. The photographic process, long exposures on film, allows for a contemplative relationship with the subject of my work. I am using the camera to record rapidly disappearing industry and urban landscapes. Along with the disappearance of this architecture, a certain feeling is being erased by a kind of gentrification that attempts to wipe clean what gives New York its feeling of an old place.
Photography in Greek means “drawing with light.” Since its invention, the endeavor of photographers has been to capture light and the landscape, or object in the right light. I am interested in a reversal of photography’s traditional approach by using the camera to capture the lack of light. I am using the darkness as a visual filter to reveal formal elements of the landscape that are less clear in the light of day.
I have inherited a certain anxiety that immigrants talk about. The feeling of belonging neither here nor there (my country of origin is Greece). As a first generation immigrant, I am constantly pondering my place in this society and my relationship to the one I came from. The disconnect between the old familiar homeland that has, with the passage of time, become foreign, and the foreign, new land that has become now home, is deeply disorienting. This contradiction is inherent in the immigrant’s experience. Nostalgia refers to a certain idea, to the yearning to be again in a place in time now past.