DAN MCGARRAH - PHOTOGRAPHY ARTIST

NIGHTS IN A CITY - San Francisco 1989 - 1996 Artist's Statement

I was living in my photo studio in the 'South of Market' area of San Francisco when I did this photography (1989 - 1996).  As I started working on this project I would grab my camera bag and a tripod, and walk out into the night, heading in various directions.  As time went on I would drive to further areas.

 

What distinguishes experiencing 'night' vs 'day'?  I think that most of all, one's awareness and sensations are amplified at night.  Wonder, excitement, anticipation, fear, mystery, and such are stronger forces in the dark.  An alley that during the day is 'a little sketchy' may feel fully ominous at night.  The elegance of a hotel decked out for the holidays is much grander at night.

 

I also feel that with the absence of sun, sky, clouds what remains visible feels heavier. Buildings, cars, trees, etc. and even the ground have more weight than during the day.  And the people as well, and they seem more powerfully propelled. 

 

So my goal was to create images capturing a variety of these nighttime sensations.   And, in particular, via the perspective of one individual out alone in a city at night.  These photos were all taken in my city - San Francisco - so to some extent, this project is 'about' San Francisco.  But my primary intention is to reflect the sensibilities of someone out alone in any city. 

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