In The Sweet Delight of an Endless Night


Inspirational Night Photography

“When the world is itself draped in the mantle of night, the mirror of the mind is like the sky in which thoughts twinkle like stars.” – Khushwant Singh

Nighttime has always had a certain suggestiveness, evoking feelings of romance, of mystery, of fear and subterfuge, of joyful abandon… Artists of all mediums have long used the nocturne to emphasise the emotional impact of their works, and photographers are no different – almost as soon as the medium of photography was invented, photographers began to venture into the night with their cameras, pushing the technology of the time to its limits. As well as pioneering photography as an accepted art-form, many cite Alfred Steieglitz as one of the first night photographers; the images from his forays into New York in the late 1890s still holding a captivating power to this day.

Of course the lack of light, the essence of the nighttime, creates a technical challenge for a medium that relies on light falling on a film, and there is therefore a necessary technical mastery that goes alongside an artistic eloquence. The eye is a complex piece of organic machinery, and all too often nighttime images can look like poor imitations of what the eye experiences. It is therefore no surprise that many photographers choose to kick against this entirely – using light and blur to create something quite different to reality.

It is perhaps this combination of emotional and technical expressiveness that makes night photography such an exciting pursuit. This list highlights a few photographers who pushed, or continue to push the genre in exciting directions, but it is by no means exhaustive. We hope you find a wealth of inspiration, and a few surprises along the way…

(Banner image © Christina Seely)