Finnish Photographer Becomes Obsessed with Christmas Lights

 

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Markus Henttonen Untitled (2011-2014)
Photo: Markus Henttonen via Galerie Vanessa Quang
Markus Henttonen Untitled (2011-2014)
Photo: Markus Henttonen via Galerie Vanessa Quang
Markus Henttonen Untitled (2011-2014)
Photo: Markus Henttonen via Galerie Vanessa Quang
Markus Henttonen Untitled (2011-2014)
Photo: Markus Henttonen via Galerie Vanessa Quang
Markus Henttonen Untitled (2011-2014)
Photo: Markus Henttonen via Galerie Vanessa Quang
Markus Henttonen Untitled (2011-2014)
Photo: Markus Henttonen via Galerie Vanessa Quang
Markus Henttonen Untitled (2011-2014)
Photo: Markus Henttonen via Galerie Vanessa Quang

While most people enjoy the cheerful festive decorations that spring up around Christmas time, Markus Henttonen perceives the Christmas lights rather differently. According to the Creators Project, in his latest ongoing series entitled Silent Night, the Finnish photographer attempted to portray “the tension on the quiet streets.”

Henttonen first encountered America’s enthusiasm for Christmas decorations during a winter trip to Los Angeles in 2011. Impressed by the spectacular lights, he felt compelled to document the contrast between “Armed Response” street signs and the strings of colored light.

The “ominous” results were unexpected. He told the Creators Project, “It is the bright surface that makes the inside and surrounding shadows seem even darker. For me the houses are like mirrors of the society, it is fine to be looking at the surface but not any deeper.”

The photographer spent hours cruising LA’s streets searching for the perfect house to add to his series. “I was not looking for the brightest, biggest decorations but more the feeling, how the house related to its environment,” he said. Henttonen eventually found rich subject matter in the deserted landscape of suburban LA. “There seemed to be a lot of invisible barriers that were not to be crossed,” he explains.

Like most of his projects, Silent Night is a work in progress, and the photographer regularly adds new images to the series.


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