COLOURS OF THE NIGHT

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The Independent Culture
On the hot, humid coasts of Florida, daylight can be oppressive. The unremitting sun bleaches the colour from the tawdry Fifties motels and diners that line the shimmering roads. But once the sun goes down, this drab world comes to mysterious life: the neon is switched on, to buzz and twinkle and seduce the passing motorist, and even the seediest "No-tell Motel" becomes a magical, colour-washed haven.

Gardens, car-parks and countless alfresco dining patios are bathed in a Technicolor glow, and the shabby buildings change with each passing hour. By the still, small hours, the pools, bars and snackeries are deserted, but the colours remain, vivid and saturated, throbbing like some nocturnal sunset. This is when I take my photographs. I have been documenting the dark for many years, mostly in Florida but also in Las Vegas, Texas, Italy and Japan, all places where the nights are long and balmy, and where artificial light transforms the sun-blasted world.

The photographs here and overleaf were made with long exposures on transparency film that catches all the nuances of colour that are often invisible to the human eye. I don't use lighting, and I don't manipulate the images when I print them. I let the colour speak for itself.

Patty Carroll's exhibition 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' is at the Royal Photographic Society, Bath, until 19 May

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