Single light in the darkness: Eerie photos capture spooky landscapes with just one lamp piercing the gloom
- French photographer Julien Mauve travelled the world to capture this eerie set of photos dubbed After Lights Out
- All the photos are entirely devoid of light, but for a single source shining from behind a window
- The entire set was shot on a Canon 5D digital SLR although many have been computer edited for the desired effect
What if darkness overtook our world and just a single source of light remained to pierce the gloom?
That’s the question photographer Julien Mauve asked himself when he came up with the concept for this series of dramatic pictures, entitled After Lights Out.
The French photographer travelled the world to capture these eerie images, which are completely devoid of all artificial light but from a single source hidden behind a window.
Haunting: This eerie image, which could be of a haunted house, is part of a set entitled After Lights Out by French photographer Julien Mauve
After the zombie apocalypse: The French photographer travelled the world to capture these eerie images, which are completely devoid of all artificial light but from a single source hidden behind a window
Lucky find: This photo, photo which shows a single light shining from a grand building seen over Prague’s Vltava river, was shot just as Mr Mauve found it. Others required complex camera trickery
Chilling: In this shot he has used an off-camera flash triggered remotely to create the single source of light at just the moment the picture was taken
On his website, he explains how he was inspired to come up with the series by inescapable light pollution.
‘Night no longer exists,’ he says. ‘City lights cover up the stars, and cell phone screens lighten even the darkest of alleyways.
‘And soon, imagine a world in which our lights render even the sun gratuitous.
‘In the darkness of space, light is a beacon of hope. What if darkness in our world once again overtook the night and as an affect, transforming even the most insignificant light into an exception ? a mystical phenomenon?
‘In a world in black and blue, the single incandescence of a bulb could be the greatest promise of an adventure about to start.’
Serendipity: Mr Mauve told how the old woman in this shot arrived just at the right moment and stood perfectly still as the photograph was exposed. She then disappeared as mysteriously as she arrived
Edited: This image shows Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most of the lights in the windows of the buildings pictured have been carefully darkened using Photoshop
Grim: Timage of a jogger running in front of council estate-style blocks of flats was actually taken during the day with the night-time effect the result of a low shutter speed and ISO setting
All the photographs were shot with a Canon 5D, a high-spec 12.8MP digital SLR aimed at the so-called ‘prosumer’ market of dedicated amateurs.
However, except for a few lucky finds, many of the haunting images required careful composition and a touch here and there of computer photo editing to get the desired effect.
In some of the shots, Mr Mauve told PetaPixel, he has used an off-camera flash triggered remotely to create the single source of light at just the moment the shot was taken. In others, he has used Photoshop to remove the lights in the scene.
The photo which shows a single light shining from a grand building seen over Prague’s Vltava river was shot just as Mr Mauve found it.
Remote: All the photographs were shot with a Canon 5D, a high-spec 12.8MP digital SLR aimed at the so-called ‘prosumer’ market of dedicated amateurs
Labour of love: Mr Mauve says the effect of light is a major influence on his photography
A forgotten world: The images hark back to an era when nightfall cast the world into inescapable darkness
The British phonebox seen in another of his images was another such stroke of luck, with the old lady standing nearby having simply entered the frame and remained there still as the photo was exposed.
Half a minute later, she disappeared as mysteriously as she arrived.
Other photos required complicated camera trickery. For example, the image of a jogger running in front of council estate-style blocks of flats, which wasn’t shot at night at all.
Instead Mr Mauve set up his flash in the scene, lowered his camera’s colour temperature then exposed the photo with a very fast shutter speed and low ISO setting.
Strange: A light source emanates mysteriously from the wreckage of a shipping boat in this ghostly image
Quick learner: Mr Mauve began considering photography seriously only three years ago
Apparition: A barely discernible figure stares back from the window in this unsettling image
Crumbling: This final photo shows a rural home, with another ghostly figure within staring back at the camera
Mr Mauve, 28, is from Paris, where he works as a digital project manager.
‘As long as I can remember I have always had a camera in my hand, but going from Fischer Price to Canon took me quite a few years,’ he said.
‘I started to consider photography seriously only three years ago, while practicing on friends, landscapes and objects, trying to understand and apprehend natural lights.
‘At these times I progressively found myself very interested by scenaristic photographs, being influenced by the work of people such as Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jeff Wall, Duane Michals, Mac Adams, Gregory Crewdson or Ellen Kooi.
‘Later on, in 2011, I began my first photography project with the will to experiment artificial lights.’
More of Mr Mauve’s work can be seen on his website julianmauve.com.