Night Photography by David Baldwin

 

 

Charterhouse Winter 2009/10
 

           




During December 2009 and early January 2010 I was lucky enough to be able to return to my old school to make night images there once more.  
As I have already described elsewhere it was while I was a pupil at Charterhouse in the early 1980s that I started taking night photographs.  This experience had a huge effect on me, and I think that subconsciously all my night work since has its roots in the striking mixture of Gothic architecture and sky I studied as a boy. Buildings and a landscape that I could touch, stars that were forever beyond my reach, magically contained within the same photographic frame.

If I am honest I was never completely happy with my early Charterhouse night images. Back then I had access to comparatively slow lenses and film which wouldn't allow me to record the point star images of my observations and imagination.   Instead I had to compromise with images of star trails which to me lsomwtimes acked depth and authenticity.

Nearly a quarter of a century then passed before the advent of digital photography made short exposure stellar photography realistic at last.  This meant I could have my point stars no star trails if I didn't want them anymore!  I began to dream again about the type of images I should have made at Charterhouse if digital had been available back then.  I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to revisit the school now, as an adult, and to produce a few night images with the sense of place I remembered.  To my delight I was given the necessary permission to return.  I photographed the school during the Christmas holidays, partly to ensure long hours of darkness, partly so as not to disturb any current pupils, and also if I am honest - to use the temporary relative emptiness of the site to create a fragile but satisfying illusion that it all belonged to me again. In a way I had come home.

I show here only 11 images in total, a mere outline of my feelings about this amazing night place.