Rut Blees Luxemburg is a German photographer who ‘has made a name for herself by producing vibrant photographs of urban landscapes and environments at night’. (Interview 2012). Her series Liebeslied ‘reveals a kind of alchemy at work, a secret process that uses artificial light to turn the streets into gold’ (course notes p83)
I was intrigued by the image I have of Luxemburg, out on the streets of London at night, possibly alone, producing only one image a month ( ‘Yes, it’s very slow and selective. I probably make about 10-12 works a year’), using very slow exposures (‘It’s usually between ten and fifteen minutes’), and capturing the things that we don’t often notice.
In her interview with Mint Magazine, Luxemburg says:
‘I’m fascinated by the city, by its dense, urban condition. … it’s a very vibrant and productive environment.’
She continues: ‘The city is a place of possibility. I work at night because, again, it’s an interesting zone when the daily events and informal laws, the commerce and trade, all of which dominate the daily experience, come to a standstill.’
Image 1 shows what could be an unnoticed and mundane set of steps in any city. She has used artificial light to highlight what is often missed, and ‘turn the street(s) to gold’. She says: ‘I’m not interested in the obvious, I’m interested in that which is slightly on the side and on the margins…. In my work .’I’m interested in what is overlooked’.
I am particularly interested in Luxemburg’s images of city buildings at night and how beautiful she makes them, with the strong warm colours and high contrast. The slow shutter softens the lights from the flats, giving them a lived in look that acknowledges them as homes, with human activity and people living their lives despite the absence of people in the image.
I particularly enjoy cities at night; Leeds, near me, has gorgeously lit industrial, commercial and residential buildings, that really come to life after dark. I hope to try to capture some night time cityscapes as part of my consideration of the beauty of artificial light.
Luxemburg, R. At: https://www.bing.com/images/search?&q=rut+blees+luxemburg&qft=+filterui:license-L2_L3_L4_L5_L6_L7&FORM=R5IR42 Accessed 9.2.17
Magazine, M. (2012) An interview with photographer rut Blees Luxemburg. Available at: http://www.mintmagazine.co.uk/art/an-interview-with-photographer-rut-blees-luxemburg/ (Accessed: 9 February 2017).