Wanderer’s Insomnia (‘Can’t Sleep’)
Wanderer’s Insomnia began in a New York apartment in 2013 – my first time travelling overseas on my own. I was staying in a rented spare room in Brooklyn, kept awake by the orange street light bashing its way through the window and its ineffectual gauze curtains. Eventually, I gave up on sleep and decided to take advantage of that light somehow, so I set up a 10 second exposure for capturing my silhouette against the window. A Photoshop accident while editing led to overlaying two offset images from different angles, and that accident developed into a process that I would continue to play with.
I tried the long exposure photograph again in my next destination, staying just outside Washington DC in Arlington, Virginia. And so, it became a tradition. In almost every accommodation I’ve stayed in since, I have taken a long exposure photograph using the available night (or in a pinch, twilight) light. Each image continues to turn out very differently to all of the others, and I like the series as an unusual record of my travels.
To me, the series conveys the loneliness, frustration and occasional delirium of insomnia, especially when you are far from home. Warping, repeated shapes and soft outlines speak of that dreamy mid-night unreality.
A selection of my favourite images are below. The rest can be viewed on my Flickr.