I’ve tried to write about art before, and it’s too big for a blog post. Maybe art is too big for language at all. The night isn’t much less mysterious. But here are a couple stories about it. Stories I haven’t totally sorted out yet.
Once upon a time (2008-2009) I managed to do that thing that everybody is always trying to do, or telling people that they should do, or complaining that they haven’t done yet. I got my shit together. All of it. I managed to keep it together for 2 entire years. (If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like, for me it was good but maybe overrated). Time was scheduled, routined, disciplined, for exercise, for meditation, for work, for study, and a low carb diet. Reading books on achievement for years helped me iron out all the wrinkles in my lifestyle. All the strange things in life seemed to happen to other people. I was business casual. My friend lived on the other side of the daytime coffee-culture. He jumped from catastrophes faster and faster, always barely scathed. Not having to be at work until 2pm, he stayed out all night, every night. He’d party until last call and then he got even more incautious. Once or twice a month I’d go hang out at the bars with him. One night, walking from one bar to another, he asked me why I did all the things I did, and I told him about life goals. Somehow they seemed less relevant as we made our way to the next debauchery. He asked me what the best part of my day was, and without hesitation I said “the sun rise”. The sun rose every day as I walked to Kung Fu practice…that brilliant golden grapefruit on the horizon waking up the town with pure, blinding glory. “Lame” he said. “Lame that the best part of your day is so fleeting. Over in a couple minutes. The night is way better. It’s darker and way longer and look at all the weird stuff that happens”. He pointed to some dude on the curb trying to open a bottle of wine with his shoe. He pointed to a street light, around which 4 adults held hands, skipped, singing drunken love songs. Walking toward us was a woman screaming angrily into her phone. She was dressed in a bee costume. It was 2am. “This stuff just doesn’t happen in the morning, or during business hours”. Who can argue with that?
When Elon Musk was a little kid, he was afraid of the dark until he realized that darkness is nothing other than the absence of photons, and how on Earth could you possibly be afraid of the absence of photons? After that, the night didn’t frighten him. Is that really all the darkness is though?
If you don’t know what Nocturne is, it’s a celebration of art, at night. It’s an annual event, a temporary, city-wide suspension of the mundane. I met my wife at the first Nocturne I ever went to and I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of photographing the event for the last 3 years. I don’t want to think of what Halifax would be without it. Many, many thanks to the incredible people who do all the paperwork and phone calls and emails and endless meetings and note-taking and somehow manage to slash through the red-tape and enchant the city every single year. They’re the people who truly appreciate the mysterious and have enough of a head on their shoulders to give it some space and time to happen.
This year, Rae and I photographed the installations in the Halifax Public Gardens. Here are a few of our favourite photographs. Hope you enjoy.