Drink and a Smoke

Night Fountains (2017, Leala Hewak, Craig Rodmore) documents a derelict environment of space-age concrete fountains hidden in plain sight in a mid-century apartment complex. Taken over two nights under conditions that would limit choice and ensure interchangeable results—identical cameras and settings, darkness, able to see only during instants of flash illumination—a few hundred photographs sketch out the nocturnal exploration of this alien landscape. Alluding to Nadar’s experimental photographs of the catacombs and sewers of Paris, the work tries to avoid the tropes of fine-art photography on the one hand and documentary photography, urban exploration, and nostalgia on the other, and to operate instead between clarity and obscurity in the uncomfortable space of the “almost” (Barthes) occupied by both the photograph and the dream.