Tom Blachford's cool photographs of California's Modernist buildings in the moonlight

The latest and final release in Australian photographer Tom Blachford’s long-running project, Midnight Modern, will be exhibited for the first time at TOTH Gallery in New York this month.

All images courtesy of the artist. Via Creative Boom submission.

All images courtesy of the artist. Via Creative Boom submission.

Loosening the shackles of Palm Springs and Mid Century, Blachford’s new show of 12 large-scale works explores some of the outer reaches of the Modernist movement in architecture, captured using only the light of the full moon.

"Blachford's series is a surreal ode to the landscapes of California and its cache of pristine Modernist buildings," says the Gallery. "Shot entirely at night, bathed in moonlight, the homes, vintage cars, and foliage appear as they have been captured in another space and time. Recognising the locations may be easy, but it is more difficult to identify when the image was actually taken, be this day or night, in the past, present, or future. The images act as portals in time where it seems these moments exist in all places at once."

For Blachford, these unique residences act as the sets for infinite narratives, both real and imagined, which the viewer is invited to script for themselves. Each image acts as a still frame for a story about to start and end simultaneously.

California has a unique geography and climate, and this gives rise to a distinct deep blue sky: a hue of moonlight ideal for this approach to architectural photography. The long exposure allows the camera to capture a world just beyond our perception and distil it into a single moment.

Midnight Modern has already included Palm Springs' most iconic properties; the Kaufman Desert House, the Edris House and Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate. The new and equally powerful images include John Lautner’s visionary Sheats Goldstein Residence, The Black Desert House by Oller and Pejic, and The Bond Villan-esque Doolittle House by Kendrick Bangs-Kellogg.

The exhibition also coincides with the re-release of the 2016 Midnight Modern publication by PowerHouse Books. Discover more at


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