Peter Ydeen’s nighttime photography captures a feeling of future nostalgia–a sense of looking back on the present moment from a great distance. The spaces where we do our living are transformed by the wash of memories and dreams. The work is a loving portrait of a particular place, but it captures the side streets, back alleys, and nighttime gardens on the edges of many an American city. The places where people live, shop, and gather day-to day tell a different story in their ringing emptiness, bathed in a ghostly nighttime glow.
Since the close of 2015 I have been photographing at night in the Easton, Pennsylvania area. Easton Nights is a story which grew from the unique and uncommon valley in which the city lies, and is told with images of the unpeopled landscapes taken at night. The night has its own visual rules, its own color wheel, and its own ethereal presence. Here, in the small hours, the world we see as mundane, cascades into dream. City lighting is meant to light up objects in much the same way you would light a still life or a stage set. Coupled with the pink light emitted by the odd sodium vapor streetlights, Easton becomes a silent city of lit stages, all in unreal color and shadow. Every space acts as a reflection of the people who made it. An empty geometry, with its decades of formation, creates an unusual living lyricism; emphasized with paint stroke-like diffractions, animated distortions and the occasional painted words which connect to the moment in our time. Like a surreal scene from a Guilermo del Toro film: trash bins and Toyotas, stop signs and doorways all come to life; leaning, stretching, and emanating with umbrageous hues. These are our stages, with the houses our beehives, and the doors our portals. Complete they are a mimesis of our daily life, as can only be shown in the mystical emptiness of night. A world of ready-mades that would make R Mutt proud. Then with the dawn, comes the beginning, where we all wake, then act; all while these magical and romantic worlds return to sleep.
Peter Ydeen is primarily an Urban Landscape photographer currently living in Easton Pennsylvania and often traveling abroad. He works within the now established tenet of Urban Landscape Photography, which celebrates the complexity and beauty of the mundane world. His work looks for inspiration in the poetics of George Tice, the playful lyricism of Paul Klee, the eccentric energy or Charles Burchfield, all trying to set themselves within the romantic setting of an E.T.A. Hoffman tale. See more of his work at peterydeen.com and on Instagram.
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