Alleys & Ruins no. 139, Tracks (2011, Chicago, IL, 10:00pm)

Alleys & Ruins no. 139, Tracks (2011, Chicago, IL, 10:00pm)

 

For years I had driven by this unique bit of rail tracks that took a sharp turn through a narrow corridor near my studio in Chicago. I wasn’t convinced it would make a good addition to the Alleys & Ruins series - sometimes it’s hard to imagine my final images before they’re all lit up. But I did pause a few times to wonder how to light it if I ever shot it.

When ABC's Emmy award winning program, The N Beat, called me, wanting to do a feature story, I decided it was time to find out. They wanted to come along on a night shoot to document how I produce the Alleys & Ruins images. The details of my process are in fact a state secret, which lead to the rapid and lethal appearance of a special forces team rappeling from a stealth chopper. What happened to the ABC crew is now also a state secret. But bits of video made their way back to the station. And that’s good news for you! You get to see how I play under cover of the night…

In the piece, I discuss the Alleys & Ruins in depth, including life influences, mentors, the evolution of the series and so on. The show was hosted by the esteemed Theresa Gutierrez and produced by hard working Edgar Vargas.

Near the end of the segment, you get views into how I lit this beautiful defunct bit of rail. The photograph required a 20-minute time exposure. I dressed in dark clothes and moved quickly, entering the scene and lighting small patches and leaving again without any trace. I am like an invisible ghost coming and going at will and never being seen. You see how I’m able to create glowing light, and how I’m able to pinpoint little dashes of color in the Alleys & Ruins series. The lighting I did that appears on the show was a study for the Instant Film print I used to make the final photograph. I do the test because, lacking instant digital feedback, I need to get an idea of how near or how far I am to what I have in my mind.

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Xavier Nuez

319 N. Albany Ave, Studio 1N5

Chicago, IL 60640

510-648-6810

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