"Night of the Living Photographers"
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The Background, Tidbits and Special Thanks...
In 2002, I took a workshop on night photography taught by Tim Baskerville and Lance Keimig. During that workshop we saw some great night photographs from both Tim and Lance, as well as from LA-based photographer, Tom Paiva. Six months later, I sat in on another Nocturnes workshop, where we saw more great night photographs from Bay Area photographer, Troy Paiva. During that time, I also became acquainted with the work of many other night photographers, including Howie Spielman and Larrie Thomson.
Before the popularity of digital photography, night photographers felt like an exclusive "club". Not many people did it, and not many people understood why we did it. I realized that many people would enjoy seeing more about what night photographers did, and explaining in their own words why they did it. I enrolled in the film production program at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA, and immediately began working on this film.
There are actually three versions of this film, each released to coincide with the annual Open Studios event in San Francisco, CA. The first version of the film was ten minutes long, and was first shown at Fort Mason for the Open Studios in October, 2004. The second version of the film ran seventeen minutes, and included more material on the photographers, and less information about my interpretation of the history of night photography. It was released in October, 2005. In October 2006, you can expect to see the final version, which will include some special surprises.
This material has also been exhibited in the curriculum at the New England School of Photography (Boston, MA), the UC Berkeley Extension program (San Francisco, CA), and Lance Keimig's Mono Lake Workshops. If you'd like to use this film in your photography classes or workshops, please feel free to contact me.
If you'd like more information about any of the photographers in this film, please see the links on the main "NOTLP" webpage. If you'd like more information about night photography, please start at the same place that I did back in 1999: the wonderful Nocturnes website. If you don't have a copy of the film, you will be able download it from the StudentFilms website, very soon.
Some tidbits about this film:
The title is an homage to George Romero's 1968 classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It's hard not to think of zombies while you're out shooting in the dark. There's some sort of analogy between night photographers and zombies, but I'm not sure what it is.
The seventeen-minute version of the film took over 200 hours of planning, shooting and editing. And that doesn't include travel time driving all over California to film cutaways and interview the photographers (and re-interview some of them, if the original material did not come out well).
The film is not for sale. It is considered to be a "student film", so some of the music used in the soundtrack has been used without permission of the publishers. But that's OK, because you can do that with student films (you can probably guess which songs those are). If any of the songs are yours and you don't feel honored to let me use them in the film, let me know and I'll replace them immediately. Come to think of it, many of the photographs in the film were shot without the permission of the property owners, too. But that's what photographers do.
I would like to thank everyone who helped out with the production of this film. They all received credits in the film. But I would also like to thank Deb Rourke, Susanne Friedrich and Mike Quinn, who have inspired me to keep shooting at night every month for the past few years. I promise I will include your work in the final version of the film. I also especially want to thank my wife, IrisAnn Nelson, who put up with me while I sat in front of my computer night after night editing the material in this film, and who continues to put up with me after I disappear on the night of the full moon, month after month.