Small Hours by Philip Butler - 3D virtual exhibition by Eyelevel Gallery

Small Hours by Philip Butler

Sat, 02/20/2021 to Sat, 05/01/2021

curated by:

Small Hours

Inspired by the 1977 John Martyn song of the same name - a brooding nocturnal soundscape recorded across a lake at 3 a.m. - Small Hours is a collection of photographs produced to document the peaceful cinematic atmosphere that isolated points of artificial light create after the sun has set.

Captured in and around his small hometown of Malvern, photographer Philip Butler wandered the streets after dark searching for inspiration.

“This is an area I am intimately familiar with but drifting around after dark completely changes the appreciation of your surroundings. Rather than objects of architectural or natural beauty, the eye is drawn purely to light sources and their immediate vicinity.

The resulting sombre series of images winds its way around the town – a Conservation Area bordering an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – paying more attention to the location of branded illuminations and cashpoints than the feast of Victoriana that the town is known for.

“Streetlights, often sodium based with a strong orange hue, cast a warming ethereal glow over their surroundings. Shadows formed by objects blocking the light create textures and patterns unseen during daylight hours. Other sources of white light from street furniture, phone boxes or illuminated signage become welcome markers in the sea of black, while coloured tones from traffic lights, retail displays or dazzling petrol station canopies enlarge the spectrum of highlights from purely orange, black and white.

After a rainstorm, tarmac and pavements glisten, gilding the previously unremarkable ground with a seemingly crystalline sheen. Puddles and pools of water reflect anything aimed at them, creating a distorted reverse of reality.

As dawn arrives the palate change.lights start to extinguish one by one well before the sun has hit the horizon, and as a result, the mood alters and the small hours rapidly draw to a close.”

Sequenced as a journey through the night - from twilight to dawn the following morning - Small Hours has now been published as a hardback photobook by ADM Publications.

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