Bedworth, UK, 2007
from the series Alternative Suns
The photographs in this series were shot during many long nights in the familiar landscape surrounding my childhood home. A landscape which once contained dens made in hedgerows, nature to discover, a thousand places to explore with the innocent wonder of childhood. These areas are etched into my memory, yet made strange by the darkness of night - a strangeness that resonates with change as I become increasingly distant from this rural landscape.
Artificial lights punctuate the darkness of the landscape, imitating the natural glow of the sun during daytime, creating the atmosphere of a never-ending day. This light pollution affects the natural order of things, causing birds to sing and flowers to bloom in the middle of the night. Animals remain awake. The lights produce a gravitational effect on insects, drawing them in towards the glow.
This gravitational pull created by light, also seems to influence people as they surround their homes with security lights and live in an artificially 'safe’ atmosphere. The light creates a barrier, both actual and metaphorical, separating people from the natural environment of the countryside. This light pollution prevents people from viewing the stars, which were once used both as a method of navigation and planning the future.
Navigation is now done through the bright screens of satellite navigation systems, and by following lit-up road signs along safely illuminated, glowing roads. We have moved away from our relationship with the natural environment. Our future planning - once determined by the earth's rotation and the stars - is obscured by light pollution of our own creation.
Bedworth, UK was photographed next to some fishing pools where we used to hang around as children in the summertime. I like the way the long exposure makes the streetlight in this image appear as if the sun is on a stick. This image was the inspiration for the title of this series, and it also representative of the environmental aspect of this project: The power cables, and glow of light pollution over the town in the background and the way artificial daylight affects the functioning of the natural world.