American Nightscapes: Daniel Freeman travels across 22 states to capture small town America at night

Spanning more than 6,500 miles between Boston, MA and Oakland, CA and passing through 22 States, British photographer Daniel Freeman reflects the sporadic nature of the road wherever it leads, from east to west coast America.

For the most part there were no plans to visit specific towns or locations for his series, American Nightscapes. Daniel just stopped driving when the sun went down and that place became his canvas for the night. There are no big cities in this collection, no busy highways and no homage paid to tourist attractions. This is the real America; behind-the-scenes portraits documenting the untold story of ordinary places in everyday (well, night) small town USA, void of any people.

Daniel has a fascination and fixation with small towns at night, lured by how visually they appear, both deserted and yet alive when people head home to recharge from their day. With far fewer chains compared to British towns, many shops are independently-owned boutiques, giving a feeling that community is built around these local businesses. This forges the charm of photographing them at night, in that despite a lack of people, something of a personality transpires through the visual of the building or business. There is a sort of peaceful disposition created by a lack of human presence in something so manmade.

Driving in the darkness, the adrenaline flows with anticipation for the unknown night ahead, the mind itself in overdrive thinking about compositions and outcomes. Daniel scours the surroundings for familiar visuals to adhere to: "of them all, the 'Main Street' sign is my favourite."

This photo essay is part of a larger, ongoing project. Daniel stages his first solo exhibition in London in June 2017 before returning to the USA. Find out more at danielfreemanphotography.co.uk.

Main image: Courtesy of Daniel Freeman | Caption: "During the Trump/Clinton election everywhere I stopped people’s views on which candidate to vote for were mixed, but everyone seemed to justify their decision under a banner of patriotism – 'for the good of this great country' etc. It was the same country – but divided."

Flapping lethargically under a muggy summer’s breeze, nothing screams patriotism like a huge Star Spangled Banner in the centre of town.

Flapping lethargically under a muggy summer’s breeze, nothing screams patriotism like a huge Star Spangled Banner in the centre of town.

A jigsaw of buildings reveals the goods within and reflect the world outside, peaceful after a day of people staring into them as they pass by.

A jigsaw of buildings reveals the goods within and reflect the world outside, peaceful after a day of people staring into them as they pass by.

A reminder to brush for those about to settle in for the night perhaps? Its message was lost- there was nobody around to pay attention to it.

A reminder to brush for those about to settle in for the night perhaps? Its message was lost- there was nobody around to pay attention to it.

Locals seemed remarkably unfazed by a huge lightning storm yet it yielded some beautiful sky-based visuals while giving the perfect setting to photograph this derelict gas station.

Locals seemed remarkably unfazed by a huge lightning storm yet it yielded some beautiful sky-based visuals while giving the perfect setting to photograph this derelict gas station.

) Sitting on the edge of town this disused giant structure casts its bright red lights into the night sky. A cry for attention for a neglected building?

) Sitting on the edge of town this disused giant structure casts its bright red lights into the night sky. A cry for attention for a neglected building?

After violent storms the moon starts to creep out from behind thick clouds; a transition from violent skies to calmer ones. Throughout both, the world around seemed strangely quiet.

After violent storms the moon starts to creep out from behind thick clouds; a transition from violent skies to calmer ones. Throughout both, the world around seemed strangely quiet.

The lights of shop windows call out to the passer by at night in a silent and almost introvert desperation, attempting to entice potential customers for the following day’s opening hours.

The lights of shop windows call out to the passer by at night in a silent and almost introvert desperation, attempting to entice potential customers for the following day’s opening hours.

This shop front offers nothing by means of an advertisement for the goods on sale within, but rather reflects itself and its surroundings, bathed in sodium streetlight.

This shop front offers nothing by means of an advertisement for the goods on sale within, but rather reflects itself and its surroundings, bathed in sodium streetlight.

The ultimate icon of American patriotism, the way red, white and blue are used to express one’s pride and loyalty is evident all across the USA; sometimes flown with brash presence and at other times positioned more subtly.

The ultimate icon of American patriotism, the way red, white and blue are used to express one’s pride and loyalty is evident all across the USA; sometimes flown with brash presence and at other times positioned more subtly.