The Christmas Lights Before Christmas

(This post is a part of a pair of posts on Christmas lights.)

I do a poor job here of differentiating between photographs I take which are snapshots, just like everyone else’s, and serious photographs, art photographs.

Most every photograph on this blog is a snapshot. Once in a while I will post some of my real work and I’ll usually title those posts something like “New Work”, such as the series of projects on the Trump presidency, here, and here, and here, for example, or projects maybe a little related to the Trump presidency or projects not really related at all.

Sometimes the idea of snapshots and real work get a little mixed up. One of the art projects I’m working on is a portrait of Montara, the small, unincorporated town where I live. I made a project called “Portrait of Montara” a few years ago, and this project relates to that one.

Every night for the past three nights I’ve gone out—and it’s cold for Montara, down in the 40s—and walked the streets, making images of Christmas lights. Montara is known for its Halloween but there are more Christmas lights every year. Last year I posted these to Instagram and it was fun hearing from people who saw their homes and, in one case, receiving a note from a homeowner complaining that I missed her home! (I went and shot it that night.)

This year I’m avoiding Instagram but I thought it would fun to share a few images from this new project here.

These are straight-out-of-camera images, made on my iPhone, handheld. I’m heading out again tonight as soon as I finish this post and will shoot again for another three hours, and probably shoot Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights as well. I have to go out earlier than I like—starting around 6:00, when there are cars still driving about—because many of the lights are on timers, or the homeowner flicks them off, starting about 8:00. That’s an early bedtime even for farmers, which they are not. These people must get up in the dark, for sure.

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