james brittain's 'night walks' series shines a light on urban montreal during lockdown

james brittain's 'night walks' series shines a light on urban montreal during lockdown

photographer james brittain has shared a series of images that documents non-specific urban locations in montreal, canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. in march 2020, after returning home after a spell of commissioned work abroad, brittain spent time in quarantine before reaching for his camera. ‘after two weeks in quarantine, venturing out into our neighborhood to make pictures seemed essential — both to experience how the public space felt and to make sense of my own thoughts,’ says the photographer.

james brittain night walks
image © james brittain (also main image)

 

 

the series, titled ‘night walks’, includes scenes shot after dark, with little or no human presence. empty streets and vacant sidewalks are illuminated by pools of light. ‘I chose to work after dark because this was the time the pervading mood of uncertainty and anxiety felt most intense,’ brittain continues. ‘I drew a circle on a map of 1 kilometer radius from our front door, making an initial rule all the images would be made within that.’

james brittain night walks
image © james brittain

 

 

‘photographing at night is different from doing so during the day,’ explains james brittain, who also works from a studio in london. ‘at night, light in the city is full of contrast. some of the early pictures had intense bright spots — from street lamps, shop windows, bus stops and other brightly lit objects. I discarded these, and concentrated on pools of falling light. this became a thread — only looking where that kind of light was present.’

james brittain night walks
image © james brittain

 

 

instead of specific locations, the photographer was drawn to places that felt unrecognizable or anonymous. ‘I wanted the pictures just to be about the atmosphere of confinement, and at least equally to do with my own feelings at the moment of capture — uncertainty, isolation — as the physical nature of places I visited.’ see further images from the series below, and discover more of james brittain’s photography on designboom here.

james brittain night walks
image © james brittain

james brittain night walks
image © james brittain

james brittain's 'night walks' series shines a light on urban montreal during lockdown
image © james brittain

james brittain's 'night walks' series shines a light on urban montreal during lockdown
image © james brittain

james-brittain-night-walks-designboom-1800b

image © james brittain

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