Here is a little excerpt from an Interview in the JOIA Magazine from Chile:
Ed Night is Edward Nightingale, who has been dedicated to portraying the trainwriting scene for years. In his files are a large number of portraits of different writers: MAD79, TAPS & MOSES, ALE, TECK9 or BORIS, are some examples.
His incredible photos in cities like Naples or Yerevan tell us stories about how difficult and risky it is to enter and conquer these metro systems. Gunshots, beatings and robberies by the police forces of some cities are some of the dangers to which Ed Night has exposed his camera and his own physical integrity to capture daring portraits charged with an energy governed by the silence of no be discovered.
How was your childhood and teenage years like? When did your relationship with the graffiti world began? Do/did you paint as well?
I had a pretty healthy and carefree youth. Around the age of 14 i came into contact with tagging trough my skateboard-posse from that time. It catched me right away. For more than ten years it was one of my biggest passions until i slowly slipped deeper into photography.
When did you start taking pictures of trainwriting? Was it kind of a natural evolution to you? How did you experience it?
The transition from painting to taking pictures has been long and smooth. The upcoming digital technology allowed me to explore photography before, around and after painting. Back then I had a little Fotolog and didn’t want to publish my panels. So i tried to figure out taking pictures that didn’t show the Graffiti itself but still showed enough to understand what's going on. I guess thats what Boris entitled “graffiti without graffiti”.
After a while I came to a certain point where i was way more happy with my photographs than with my panels. I realized that i found much more pleasure in taking them than I found in painting. Still i loved everything around trainwriting. The atmosphere, the yards, the adrenaline. I felt an urge to keep those moments somehow. And besides Video, photographs are a good way to do so.
Graffiti and photography goes hand in hand as is a short-lived type of art, so your pictures are maybe the only prove that something existed at some point. Besides that, photography is the only way to disclose some of the unknown aspects of graffiti so the people can emphasize. Did you reflect about that at all? Do you pre-think about what are you going to show and what not?
When I started with my project the intention was purely egoistic. I just wanted to keep the moments I shared with my friends so that when we grow old we can sit together and watch our memories. It took a while until I realized that it would be a pity to let all those pictures collect dust on my hard drive. So why not to share them with those who’d like to see.
But still I do those pictures for me and my friends and most of the stuff that we do remains in a closed circle.
You have known some of the best graffiti writers in the scene, a lot of cities and their metro systems. What are your favorite metro systems and crews/writers and why? Could you tell us some situation or anecdote you especially remember? Are there some metro systems left that you want to know?
To be honest, my favorites always change from time to time and i cant really name an alltime favorite. Neither a writer nor a city. Almost every City or system has some places that make a deep impression on me. I am in a constant hunt for new or different amospheres and different situations. One day I find more pleasure in a nicely lighted village-Yard than in some highly guarded hangar in a big city. The next day it’s the other way around. I guess its the variety that keeps me going.
The same motivation is it that keeps me wanting to visit new places, new cities, new writers. And there are way too many for a single lifetime.
Of course i had a lot of situations that i remember but same here: i cant name a most special one. Just this: the worst experiences make the best stories.
You know Good Guy Boris, who has a very particular approach to graffiti and he paints with his face uncovered. How would you define your own approach? What goes through your mind when you go down and sneak the train security measures to take pictures?
I try to be a chronist of our recent Trainwriting-movement. My approach is to capture the athmosphere and emotion of trainwriting and make it available for those to come after us. Still i know that my pictures are mostly readable to those who write as well and often lack the key for those who don’t. For years i have been chasing for a picture that gives non-writers a complete impression of the adrenaline-fear-fun mixture that illegal graffiti triggers in my mind. But here I am: still chasing.
What has to have a composition or a situation to be worth your shot? Or you just simply take a lot of pictures and then go through them to select the best ones?
There is no thing like “the one situation”. Its the diversity that triggers me. Every single situation has its own unique appearance.
As Trainwriting happens mostly under either time pressure or shady lighting -or sometimes both- i am very often forced to take a lot of pictures to get the image i want in the right angle or sharpness. In most of the Actions there is no time to stage some Image. So mostly i end up chasing the action with my camera and hope for some good results. Of course i often have some Shots in mind that i’d like to get but sometimes that might take some months or years. This is reportage not a studio. If I find some spare seconds to take a quick portrait then I am more than happy
Your work has been featured at Egowar, Overrates and Incognito. What did you feel seeing your pictures on the cover of those magazines?
Seeing my work published and therefor available for people to see it always sparks me with joy. Like i find joy in taking pictures i find joy in showing those that i like to people that might share my joy. It’s always sad when I have pictures of actions that i cannot show for some reasons. But that’s part of the game.
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