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When viewing Remi Thornton’s night photography I often find myself wanting to develop a narrative around each piece. Perhaps a story that helps connect the image to the person or a fable that works as a reminder of a personal experience or emotion. The works have a cinematic quality of rich tender contrast of dark and light. Featured are abandoned or vacant spaces, dwellings, gas stations, bus stops, cabins, all seemingly uninhabited but somehow demanding a dramatic tale. Empty and in the dark and within the artist’s compositional choices these seemingly random and ordinary spaces take on a surreal cinematic personality. A personality that calls us to think about just what might be, what could be going on in or around the scenes. The darkness can heighten the viewer’s anxiety and curiosity. They are also beautiful luminous compositions containing a sumptuous textured balance in the dark richness of color provided by the light and shadow. I’m reminded of Film Noir cinema and the sharp contrast and shadow that provide a backdrop to the human drama that plays out on screen. In the context of Remi’s works the drama not only lies within lush naked scenarios but also in the cinema of the viewers mind.
– Steven J. Duede, Fine Art photographer
One can only wonder what Remi Thornton would be doing if his first Digital SLR had been delivered during daylight hours. But because UPS dropped by after dark, the earliest exposures captured by Thornton were necessarily long ones. Since that fateful night he has embraced this medium and technique. Using only atmospheric street lighting, he has developed a style that some have referred to as “…the epitome of proper creepy.”
Thornton’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and his photographs have been highly collected by private and public collections including Fidelity Investments and Wellington Management. He was recently selected as a recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation 2015 Emerging Artist Award. Thornton lives in Melrose, Massachusetts, a small suburb just north of Boston, with his wife and a heavily photographed Chihuahua/Pug mix named Winnie Cooper.
Every image in the nightscape series portrays a sense of anticipation: something doesn’t seem right; something’s about to happen. Together, we're on the cusp of witnessing an event, which could be odd, frightening or even supernatural. I hope that the structures and shadows in these depopulated scenes inspire the viewer's imagination. It’s what’s lurking in the darkness and in the corners that give these images their mysterious power. The next, missing frame becomes as relevant as the photograph itself, and it’s up to you to complete the story.
All of the works were shot using “natural” street lighting. As with my other works, I didn’t stage these scenes. I am less concerned with constructing a mood and more interested in capturing it accurately. For me, a successful image conveys the same uneasiness that I felt while taking the photograph, standing alone in the dark, wondering what would happen next.
– Remi Thornton, 2014