Palm Springs 2019 – ‘Nocturnal’ photographer Tom Blachford captured the unspoken narrative of Palm Spring’s iconic midcentury modern architecture. To complete the Midnight Modern photo essay Tom visited the Californian city for 7 full moons, including a Super Moon, over the course of 5 years. “Each trip was a pilgrimage to the desert to pay homage to iconic shrines of mid-century hedonism” which inspired architects across the globe ever since.
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Palm Spring is the Mecca of Mic-Century Modernism, which blossomed in the 50’s when show-biz settled in in search of a nature-filled quiet place just 2 hours away from L.A. Every year the city hosts the Modernist Week celebrating the famed Desert Modernist era built back in the day by masters such as Richard Neutra and Albert Frey.
“I shot using only the light of the full moon. Combined, the architecture, the mountains and the moonlight create cinematic result that invites the viewer to complete their own story beyond the single frame.” Explains Tom Blachford. “Both nostalgic and original the scenes exist simultaneously between the past and the present, like portals through time.”
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Tom has collaborated with the community in Palm Springs. With the support of The Palm Springs Modernist Committee, Modernism Week, homeowners, car collectors and location scouts in the area.
The Australian photographer has been able to gain access to high profile properties such as the Kaufmann Residence, Frank Sinatra Twin Palms and the Frey II house as well as dozens of lovingly restored Alexander tract homes.
“My series are usually trying to connect the architecture of a place with a feeling and adding in a sense of mystery. As such my process has been to plan less and just get on the ground and start shooting and try to connect with my impulses for what i’m drawn to.” Said Tom Blachford in an interview to TDF.
Shooting at night has been a particularly gruelling process. “Sometimes I wonder how I found the energy for. I really pushed my mind, stamina and equipment to the limits. I would normally shoot from 7pm-4am for 5 nights in a row – 2 nights either side of full moon – and spend the days scouting and arranging access and cars with the homeowners”.
All photos by Tom Blachford can be purchased at tomblachford.com.