The Longest Nights ( Photo Project )

  • Daniel Millyard

The Longest Nights started as an artistic outlet to express my feelings during the pandemic and developed into a fully realised creative project and eventually a limited print run. I was obsessed with ideas of distance, loneliness, longing and connection, things I felt looking up at the stars. There was sense of immense distance of being far away from not only the stars but the friends and family members I missed. At the same time there was a feeling of solace and comfort in knowing that no matter how far apart we were, we still shared the same sea of stars it connected us all. I was interested in the universal effects of darkness and the way that not only the lack of light but its isolation to stars, street lights and lonely house windows transformed the world around it. Places that were recognisable as being geographically specific in the day suddenly became disconnected and placeless at night, they seemed to exist within their own time and space. I explored my home town in the daytime discovering and searching for new places to transform at night. It wasn’t simply about taking photos of the stars, or finding aesthetically pleasing locations; it was about isolating and displacing places not just geographically but in time, creating a sense of loneliness and stillness, something magical yet eerie; I wanted both the feeling and places to seem familiar and relatable to anyone who might see them. Throughout the process I taught myself to use long exposures to capture the stars and editing to invoke a sense of feeling. Each photo is created from a single exposure edited to further highlight the details within the picture, while colour and grain are manipulated to create a feeling of mystery, magic and physicality. The final images are distinct and atmospheric in their rendering of these lonely and isolated scenes. The photos often feature bright vivid colours in contrast with deep shadows and dark skies, the images feel fantastical yet aesthetically true and relatable to the feeling of isolation.