matt nighswander statements
  Dark Country Road
Near the house where I grew up in Gilmanton, New Hamsphire is a stretch of country road that often seemed impenetrably dark to me as a child. One area in particular has a dense tree canopy that effectively blocks out any star or moonlight. It's the kind of enveloping darkness that gives you chills as a child, and maybe as an adult, too. I’ve found that any nervousness I have is dispelled when I’m carrying a flash and a camera and so I’ve felt compelled to try and make pictures there.

The “Tamworth” series is an extension of the first “Dark Country Road” series, shot farther north in New Hampshire on a dark stretch of road that runs along Lake Chocorua. In this second series, the lights of cars are an important motif, serving as a comforting symbol of human presence in an otherwise unpopulated landscape but also conveying a hint of menace as an unknown intruder appears out of the darkness.

  Waiting for the Jets: Planeview Park, Queens
“Everyone agrees, airliners look different in the sky these days, predatory or doomed.”
From Ian McEwan’s Saturday

Planeview Park is a rather scruffy, little park that lies under the flight path of one of La Guardia Airport’s runways. Not more than an acre and bordered by chain link fence and a highway, it would hardly deserve notice if it weren’t for the planes that appear overhead when the runway is in use. Seeing a low-flying plane is bound to produce conflicting associations & emotions. These enormous objects can possess an otherworldly grace as they seem to float in the sky, but they can also trigger an instinctual fear as so much hardened steel zooms by so closely. I hope to capture some of this complicated response in my photographs.

When I first moved to Chicago, I was slightly confused by the term "Chicagoland." I heard it used in TV and radio ads when I wasn't quite paying attention and I wondered initially if it might be an amusement park or an enormous mall. I've chosen "chicagoland" for the working title of my project not because I am interested in documenting the wide expanse of the Chicago metro region (in fact, the vast majority of these pictures were all shot within Chicago’s city limits) but because of the psychological space the word implies to me. The pictures were taken in Chicago, but they are about a fictionalized, imagined Chicago and the best ones seem only loosely tethered to the reality from which they spring.

‘Chained’ examines the place of chain stores in our commercial landscape. Titles play an essential role in this series, revealing information deliberately obscured by the photographs. Concealing the names of these establishments is an aesthetic strategy, certainly, but also a small gesture of resistance, however slight, against these stores’ desire to trumpet their identity in bold neon. Ultimately, it is a futile gesture, because while the signage and names of the chain stores are never clearly pictured, their architectural branding is such a common sight that they are often identifiable, nonetheless. If these pictures are about sprawl and the forlorn spaces of generic commercial architecture it is at least partly because these spaces are where the transformative powers of photography can have the greatest effect; where the photographic image can create a sense of drama and psychological tension that may not have been present in the original scene.