Traditionally, depictions of night in visual art are synonymous with mystery, the unknown, and dreams—in short, an altered state of consciousness. As photographers we are used to making easy adjustments to our camera settings to create photographs that simulate what we see during daylight hours.
But night photography presents us with special technical and aesthetic challenges. Our brains seamlessly help us transition through the various phases of space, light, color, luminosity, and reflection that we experience during the 24-hour cycle, but our cameras need help translating the subtleties of light and emotion found only at night. Here special language and skill are needed.
Longtime night photography devotees Lynn Saville and Jason Langer team up to guide participants through the specialized and creative possibilities of dynamic night photography.
Both these distinguished photographers are present at every session to share their perspectives, skills, and insights—from practical issues (like camera settings, mixed lighting, and differences between digital and film) to philosophical considerations when depicting the night and the history of night photography.
The workshop combines Lynn’s mastery of capturing nighttime architecture with color and Jason’s facility in making low-light, black-and-white photographs of populated urban scenes, resulting in a rich and lively mix of technical and narrative-based learning. Join them as they illuminate the alluring world of low light and night photography.
Working knowledge of your camera. Participants must be able to download and select images using image editing software for class sessions.
Jason Langer is best known for his psychological and noirish visions of contemporary urban life. Secret City, his first monograph published by Nazraeli Press, depicts night and dusk scenes of various cities with “carefully crafted compositions reminiscent of the symbolist photographers, and swathes of meticulously printed deep black tones characteristic of the gelatin silver process…as much Hopper and Raymond Chandler as Steichen” (Bomb Magazine).
Over the past two decades Langer has developed a photographic language which has been described variously as “cinematic” and “poetic,” “contemplative” and “iconographic,” as well as “haunting” and “romantic.” Avoiding staged tableaux on the one hand, and the “deadpan” aesthetic popular in much contemporary photography on the other, his images strive always to capture the unanticipated or chance moment, layered with timeless drama and dynamism.
He has published three monographs: Secret City (2006, Nazraeli Press) and Possession (2013, Nazraeli Press) and Twenty Years (Radius Books, 2015), spanning 20 years of his career. It is the first survey of his work.
A popular workshop instructor, Jason is also part of our Mentorship Program »
Lynn Saville is a fine-art photographer who specializes in photographing cities and rural settings at twilight and dawn, what she calls “the boundary times between night and day.” Her photographs have been published in four monographs: Acquainted with the Night (Rizzoli), Night/Shift (Monacelli), Dark City (Damiani), and Lost New York (KGP).
Saville’s work has been widely exhibited and praised. The following favorable notice of her retrospective exhibition at the Pratt Institute Photography Gallery appeared in The New Yorker: “There’s a long, rich history of New York photographers working at night, from Berenice Abbott to Joel Meyerowitz. Saville joins their ranks with these pictures …” Arthur C. Danto compared Saville’s work to Atget’s photographs of early-morning Paris: “Saville is his New York counterpart, the Atget of vanishing New York, prowling her city at the other end of the day …” In his recent book of essays, See/Saw: Looking at Photographs, Geoff Dyer wrote of Saville’s work, “The pristine silence, the lack of motion in these very still photographs, create the sense of a world that has dropped out of time—and therefore out of the cycle of transactions.”
In her Zoom and in-person classes on twilight photography, Saville teaches observational and composition techniques, shares tips on lenses and camera settings, and helps students appreciate the shifting balance between natural and artificial light. She also conveys her sense of wonder at this mysterious time between day and night.