RV Night: Frank Hallam Day

by Alessandro Trabucco

With the series of night images titled “RV Night”, the American photographer Frank Hallam Day, returns sensation of great solitude and isolation, but this aspect does not make them dramatic or threatening.

The photos of this series appear rather perfectly tempered in composition as in the bright light and shade chromatism, even not to seem a shooting but an iperrealistic painting, or better, some paintings in flemish tone, with extreme care of details and of relationship between twilight darkness that characterizes the whole ambient and the light source that defines the “punctum” ( as Roland Barthes writes).

These images put some precise questions that even the author gave at the moment he discovered for the first time this peculiar way to escape from urban chaos looking for a more direct touch with nature.

RV Night is just the visual documentation of these “recreative vehicles”, most known as “camper”, plunged in silent darkness of american forests, precisely in those in Florida.

The photographer capture all in a precise time, that moment when it is not deep night and the sky, better cloudy, is soften lighted from the rest of the day just passed.

It is necessary for Day the absolute absense of wind, to let the long expositions in capturing avoid moved and out-of-focus images. At the soften ambient light it adds the electric one of the vehicles parked,  an energetic emission that gives life to the object shooted, trasforming them into the “living subjects” of the image.

The human presence is physically irrilevant it is just a visual metaphore, it has not be seen from the windows even through the curtains and we can just imagine that someone is into the vehicles, who has turned the light on and who is doing something. Even if for the author these images demonstrate a certain tendency of human being (commented by him as negative) to escape and refuge – so strong as he have to adopte some particular devices for not to be “noticed” at the moment in which he is shooting, worring to violate their privacy and damage the recovered tranquillity by the inhabitants of these static means of transport – the final result is less unsettling than it seems.

What we observe is exactly the extreme visual and chromatic polish that they show; the choice to give to the light the main character, both when it is natural both when it is artificial; the aestethic quality of framings and a sort of post naturalism as reporter that put in relationship a seemingly incontaminated and rough nature with these frozen and luminous itinerant and hi-tech homes.



Frank Hallam Day, Airstream with Kayak

Frank Hallam Day - Or Not Magazine

This work may represent the symbol of all the series RV Night. We find, exactly, all the typical elements researched by the photographer: the sky covered by clouds in a soft twilight colour, the camper, the RV schooted, it is just one of the preferred by Frank Hallam Day (Airstream model), the light released from it, coming from behind the curtains that obscure  the interior vision and some possible inhabitants, it is a visual source very strong, it attracts in a while the view and it is the most important point, becoming the center of the scene perfectly composed as central perspective, where the dark trees on the bottom emphatize the depth and they value the brightness of the vehicle. Nature surrounding do not appear  frightful, but  rather a protective and secure place, the trees aside look like stretch to the center, giving a sensation of refuge.

The perfection of this image is so high and it gives the impression that it is the exact reproduction, in a shooting set, of a film scene, in which every light details, as every objects setted, natural and artificial ones, they have been studied to return a sense of absolute naturalness and truth that only the direct experience and a pure look can capture.


Photo credits:
Frank Hallam Day

1 | Airstream with Kayak
2 | Airstream 6783
3 | Airstream 19331
4 | Allegro
5 | Blue and White
6 | Cougar with Moon
7 | Green Alumascape with Tree
8 | HR RV
9 | Ohio RV
10 | Oscar Scherer 1

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