Troy Paiva's night visions

Troy Paiva is a talented American contemporary artist who has been exploring since 1970 his homeland, particularly California, walking abandoned and forgotten places. In 1989 he started taking photographs of these places, drawing the outline of a hidden and often inaccessible America. His shots are taken with an unique light and exposure that transform every abandoned building or object into something different from both what it was and what it has become. Fascinated by moonlit nights, Paiva manages to immortalise time and silence, to create suggestive images that look as if they belonged to a parallel universe, decadent and enigmatic. Using very long exposure times, up to 8 minutes, a strobe flash and light filters, he manages to create those particular light effects which transform objects and shadows.
These incredible pictures portray car shells, ruined buildings, ghost towns, gas stations, abandoned planes, old trains, motels, disused military bases, ghost ships and anything that was forgotten by man, which thanks to his creations enter a new dimension of space-time thanks to his creations. At the centre of his works is the effect of human activities on the environment, often with devastating consequences. Ecological denunciation is the fundamental theme of his art, exposing the problem of disposal of waste like aeroplanes, cars and ships. In fact, batteries, plastics, oil and various chemical substances disperse in the environment, damaging local flora and fauna. Even gas station are an often underestimated source of pollution. Beneath each station are held 20.000 litres tanks, and any leak can pollute wide underground areas, and eventually even the groundwater. 

Paiva’s night photography was published in two monographs: “Lost America” (2003) and “Night Vision” (2008). These books contain all of the artist’s urban exploration and the eerie, mysterious atmosphere he manages to extract from the ruins of the modern world and the nightmares of industrial expansion. “Our society”, says the photographer, “seems to be living in something of a ‘golden age’ of abandon, everything is renewed too easily, at times for no reason, within the time of a few years things become obsolete and so we can’t but get rid of them, scattering every kind of ruins around the world.”

You can find more of Troy Paiva’s beautiful pictures at his website:

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