Stumbling upon his Midnight Modern series by accident, the Australian photographer has now been shooting California's otherworldly Modernist architecture at night for five years
Born in Australia and now based in Melbourne, Tom Blachford first visited Palm Springs back in 2013. Struck by its pristine Modernist architecture he was keen to take photographs, but wary of repeating the many sunny images of California. Deciding to try working at night instead, he happened to venture out during a full moon, and stumbled on a new project.
He’s now been adding images to his Midnight Modern project for five years, capturing still-futuristic buildings with long exposures in the silvery, pleasingly alien light of the moon. Midnight Modern IV is his final addition to the series and sees him shooting outside Palm Springs for the first time, and also stretching the Mid-Century time-frame to include contemporary architecture such as the 2014 Black Desert House by Oller & Pejic.
Midnight Modern includes many famous architectural landmarks, including prefabricated houses such as the Futuro House shown above – one of 100 fibreglass homes made by Matti Suuronen in the 1960s and 70s. And in fact though Blachford was inspired by architectural icons, and by images which helped cement their reputation by photographers such as Julius Schulman and Slim Aarons, he was also interested in mass-built tract homes – the so-called ‘cookie-cutter’ houses built on large estates by organisations the Alexander Construction Company.
“I also love the execution of the tract home developments that have stood the test of time so well,” he told Architectural Digest. “In the era of McMansions it is so refreshing to see mass housing done well.”