Troy Paiva: Lost America
April 23 - June 5, 2011
Curated by Piro Patton
Troy Paiva’s exploration of abandoned America began with desert ghost towns. His obsession with lapsed spaces led him to junkyards, decommissioned military installations and derelict entertainment, transportation and industrial sites.
In 1989, Troy discovered night photography while working as a graphic designer for a major toy company. He immediately saw this technique as a way to capture the forlorn souls of these forgotten places and objects he’d always been drawn to. This exhibition is a cross-section from a vast volume of recent work, the culmination of over 20 years of experimentation and refinement of his self-taught technique.
These photographs were all taken at night, in full darkness. They were all shot on, or within a few nights of, the full moon. The lens is open for 2-4 minutes, which allows the moonlight to gradually accumulate, creating a strangely diffused, “night into day” ambiance. The lengthy exposures also capture the trails of stars spiraling around Polaris and clouds as they smear ethereally across the heavens. During these lengthy exposures, Troy uses a hand-held strobe flash and simple flashlights to add natural and colored light; lighting the scene like a dark stage set, a playful and surreal enhancement of the atmosphere of these brooding, haunting places. These images are not Photoshop creations. The color and light you see was all done during the exposure, in the field.