Charmed by his first encounter with the modernist houses in Palm Springs in 2013, Tom Blachford set out to the desert city again this year to photograph the mid-century homes by night. Shooting from 10.30pm to 3am, Blachford’s trip coincided with the first supermoon of 2014, resulting in a series of images as enticing as they are haunting.

The houses, designed by California’s Alexander Construction Company between 1955 and 1965, feature clean lines and neutral tones with a breathtaking background of the Palm Springs mountains. Using a 30-second shutter speed to capture these subjects, Blachford was taken by the juxtaposition of a stationary scene with the rapid movement of the trailing stars in his photographs. The way in which the stillness of the houses sits alongside the depiction of the earth spinning on its axis fascinated Blachford. As with any form of photography, the use of lighting is key, and in the case of Midnight Modern it was the use of such unique light from the supermoon that led to a striking, almost surreal set of images.

“No one really believes that the photos have had virtually nothing done to them,” says Blachford. “They’ve had little boosts in exposure because they were quite dark, but other than that, all of the colours and amazing shadows have been created by the moonlight.”

Blachford’s Midnight Modern exhibition will include 13 photographs available for sale with a selection of eight on display and a launch of a limited-edition exhibition book.

Midnight Modern is showing at Modern Times from October 2 to 19. The opening event is from 6pm–8pm on October 2.

Modern Times
311 Smith Street, Fitzroy