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Big M Auto Dismantlers at Twilight – Williams, California

January 25th, 2011 by Stu

If Tim Burton changed careers tomorrow and became an automotive photographer, his creepily captivating snaps might look something like this. “I shoot abandoned places and junkyards by the light of the full moon and use flashes and flashlights to light the scene during the time exposures. I’m capturing these haunting, off limits places using techniques that enhance their surreal nature”, says Troy Paiva, an acclaimed night photographer whose surreal imagery has been written about and shown in galleries and museums all over the US. “Wandering around in a high desert junkyard, by yourself, in the middle of the night is a strange thing to do, and this work reflects that strangeness” Yes, it’s pretty bizarre to hang out in creepy old junk yards at 2am, but then again, amazing work doesn’t come from obvious places. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Troy’s work…these goose-bump-inducing photos are not Photoshop creations. Some minor digital adjustments were made to a few of the photographs (multi-exposure compositing, contrast adjustments and minor cloning), but the lighting FX and color are all done “in-camera”.

Pictured here, ‘The Big M’ Auto Dismantler Yard in Williams, California. It specializes in 1950’s Mercurys, but the grounds iare also packed with big finned Chryslers, DeSotos, Dodges, Fords and rare late ‘50s GM cars. Troy says this collection, combined with an owner sympathetic to night photography weirdos, makes for a dream location.

“Exploring these kinds of places is just something I’ve always done.  I’ve always been a car guy and attracted to junkyards.  Once I discovered the idea of night photography back in ’89, I immediately saw it as a way to document them.  I love the solitude and quietness that the remote locations and the cover of night provides.  The act of night photography is a very zen, meditative process anyway, but adding these kinds of evocative locations to the equation pushes it to a whole new level.”

Rock on Troy. We look forward to showcasing more of your amazing art in the future.

These images were shot during the April, May, July, September 2009 and february 2010 full moon phases. Source: ©Troy Paiva / Lost America (images used with permission)

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