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Non Places

‘The darkness of the night, like the darkness inside a camera, is a space where images are conjured.’

I have always been fascinated by liminal spaces, especially in the darkness of night. I often find myself wandering the streets at these nocturnal hours, when the night presents mysterious and sinister possibilities, yet at the same time a contradictory beauty and silence. The night for me provides moments for contemplation and tranquillity. In daylight these places are busy, at night unpopulated, yet ‘when the figures are absent their trace still remains’ (Howes: 13).

In the series ‘Non Places’, my photographic work explores notions of social, personal and forgotten spaces. The work aims to capture the enigmatic subject of these spaces in the darkness of night through the perspective of female eyes. At its most basic state this series is about free exploration of my surrounding environment in the still, silent hours of the night. I was interested in using artificial light in different ways, exploiting the sometimes acidic, sometimes metallic light to create other worldly atmospheres.

Arnau Blanch is one of my most influential artists for this body of work; viewing his series ‘Fantasmas’ had a profound effect on my work and discovering him marked a turning point for my photographic practice. Seeing his imagery enabled me to think about how I could unitize aspects in my own work and deal with the apprehension that I was developing while creating the series ‘Non Places’. Blanch’s ‘Fastasmas’ series is highly personal due to it being used as therapy for his anxiety. I strongly related with Blanch’s imagery, during the development of this body of work, I had been trying to use photography to connect how we experience places with our subconscious. Aiming to encapsulate moments of silence and solitude, however upon reflection I feel the imagery was produced very selfishly, much like Blanch’s project I have used photography as a means of escape and therapy. However where as ‘Fastasmas’ documents his fears, my imagery searches for escape, looking for moments that silence my apprehensions. I found these moments most to be at night, thus began capturing imagery in the nocturnal hours as the freedom and temptations offered by these nocturnal streets fascinated me.

Thought-out studying at university I have always found it difficult to produce work fluently, I develop anxiety when creating images for projects. More than anything this series has been used to help me discover and overcome my own personal fights and fears within my photographic practice and within my self. Although my degree is finishing this year, now that I have found a way of producing work more fluently I indented to continue creating and developing the series ‘Non places’.


HOWES, Natasha. 2001. We Are No Longer Ourselves: Rut Blees Luxemburg, Effie Paleologou, Sophy Rickett. London: Site Gallery

ZELENKOVA, Tereza. 2012. ‘Announcing The Winners Of 1000 Words Award’. 1000 words photography magazine blog, [online]. Available at: [accessed 6 May 2014].


Laura Matthews

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