Alleys & Ruins

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The Alleys & Ruins series is a “masterpiece”

The New York Times

"Nuez scouts American cities for solitude and decrepitude [and] finds inspiration in derelict sites”

Washington Post

Alleys & Ruins


Long after dark, I venture into bleak urban settings, seeking out their elusive splendor. With the city humming in the background, I find inspiration, peace and refuge where none should exist.

My determined and intense outings often lead into dangerous neighborhoods, at times resulting in trouble. I’ve run from street gangs, been accosted by crazed drug addicts, and have had guns pointed at me. If the police see me lurking in a dark alley, I am often questioned and searched.

With a family history of homelessness, I developed a need to create monuments out of these shunned spaces. Although positive, life-affirming perceptions are not usually associated with acute urban blight, I feel compelled to dignify what has been rejected.


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The images in the series are shot in a mostly traditional manner. The photographs are taken at night, using a 50 year old Hasselblad film camera. During the 10 to 30 minute exposures, I walk around with various (colored) lights and shine them on different parts of the scene, adding color and texture to the typically drab locations.

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Xavier Nuez

319 N. Albany Ave, Studio 1N5

Chicago, IL 60640

510-648-6810

© Xavier Nuez, 2020

Music by the brilliant Ketsa. Visit ketsa.uk