by Alison Zavos in New Photography on Sunday 27 July 2008

Sara Macel’s Nighttime series shot around Brooklyn, New York, reminds me of the movie, 200 Cigarettes. Much like the movie, her photos have an energy of anticipation – like showing up two hours before the party gets going and then walking home at 5am before the sunrise.
What made you decide to start photographing at night?
‘It began in Texas one night while I was driving around my hometown looking for photographs. I put on the song Nighttime by Big Star, which so perfectly captures the idea of being young and trapped in a small town. The project began as a series of landscapes of all the back alleys and parks and driveways I hung out in late at night when I was a teenager. It has since evolved into photographs of my current haunts in Brooklyn as well as photos of the people I see when I’m out at night’.

Do you carry a camera with you at all times or only when you have a purpose?
‘I pick and chose the nights I bring my camera out. Certain nights I go out for the sole purpose of taking pictures. Other times, I find myself walking around without it and then stumble upon some amazing scene and have literally run back home to grab my camera’.

What camera are you working with?
‘This project has all been shot with my Mamiya 7 Rangefinder’.

What are you hoping to find photographing in the wee hours?
‘I’m like a moth drawn to artificial light sources. Neon crosses, movie theater signs, porch lights. The nighttime changes how things look; it adds a sense of mystery to what would otherwise be a benign scene. In terms of the photographs of people at bars, I’m interested in how people act differently in the nighttime. They let their guards down a bit. Of course, the alcohol helps’.

What is your favorite time to shoot?
‘I love that twilight moment when it just gets dark and everything transforms, but it is still early enough to see traces of the day’.

Where has your work been seen?
‘The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Jen Bekman Gallery, Sean Kelly Gallery, Nutopia Magazine, Vision Magazine, and American Photo college edition’.

sara macel
sara macel
sara macel