The Night Scenes photographs developed over a summer of evening strolls with my wife Dena. We were both looking for imagery, in her case photographs that could be transformed into paintings and in my case photographs that could function as mini-dramas. It struck me that the urban setting at night is particularly theatrical especially because of the presence of mixed lighting sources.
Between the sodium vapour street lamps, neon tubing in store windows, car headlights, and numerous other sources I often felt that I was on a stage set. But what was this play about? I never discovered the answer to that question. People were in transit and transition and sometimes ended up inside my frame. The traditional capture of a moment in time and space, a remnant of film, has given way in these photographs to the compression of time. Everything that one sees in these photographs actually occurred, but not simultaneously. It remains for the viewer to determine whether the drama of Night Scenes is still true.
Ralph Gabriner is an image-loving iconoclast who has spent the last thirty years “knocking around” as his mother used to say. During that time his work has been exhibited numerous times. A collection of his work, Foraging in the Aftermath, can be found here, and his most recent book, Night Scenes, can be previewed here. Visit his website here: www.ralphgabriner.com.