In classical music, a nocturne is a composition that evokes the unique atmospheres, either positive or negative, that can come about during the night. 31 year-old Dutch photographer Annick Ligtermoet (website | Tumblr) was inspired to do something similar with photography, and created her own Nocturnes, a very beautiful series of images with a special magic to them.
Hello Annick, thank you for this interview. What are your main interests as a photographer?
I’m really interested in places that have stayed the same over time and in how a photo can transport time. I like to look at how our cultural history is still present today and to use themes that are not necessarily merry or pleasant.
How did you get the idea for your Nocturnes series?
After experiencing a couple of winters in Finland I felt I needed to make something about it. The winter lasts what feels like forever, and every day you come outside the world is dark and foggy. It is one of the most difficult things about living in this country. Then, when summer comes, the night is special in another way. It only gets dark for a few hours each night, and you get to spend a lot of time in the dusk.
What are you trying to communicate with this body of work?
As a photographer I try to capture a feeling. In this project it’s a kind of melancholy that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes just plain depressing. This balance is different for everyone.
Did you have any particular source of inspiration in mind while working on Nocturnes?
I was mainly inspired by my surroundings in Finland, but when the project started to take shape I did some research about nocturnes and the night in general. Of course I looked at the paintings by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and listened to Béla Bartók, among others. By coincidence I found a book called Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight by James Attlee, in which he travels the world to find places where the moon has a special meaning.
Choose a photograph from Nocturnes and share with us something we can’t see in the picture.
When looking at Nocturnes Nr. 03, many people think they’re seeing the sun, but in fact it’s the moon. I shot this triptych during Midsummer night [on June 24, the day of the year when the night is shortest in Finland]. We were sailing on the Baltic Sea somewhere between Estonia and Finland. It was a beautiful evening, with the sun hanging low on the one side and the moon on the other side. The sky was filled with many different kinds of colors. In Finland they call it yötön yö: the nightless night.
Mention the skill that you think is fundamental for a photographer to have.
Who are some of your favorite contemporary photographers?
While I’m more often looking at photography from past times, there are a few young photographers whose work I admire. I think Dorothée Smith has a strong, personal style and I like the energy of Mark Peckmezian. Also Tanja Kolionen, who is not as much a photographer but more an artist working with photography, has an amazing body of work.
If you could change or improve one thing about the photography industry, what would it be?
It would be great if more people went back to working analogue. That would make working on film more accessible (and cheaper!) than it is now.
Think of the last time you saw something and couldn’t resist taking a picture – what did you see?
I think it was when I was walking on the street and saw a dog with one white eye. I ended up making 20 pictures of it I believe, with the owner patiently waiting for me to be done with it.
Do you have any other passions besides photography?
Yes, I love cooking food. Sometimes I become obsessed by a certain cuisine and then I need to know everything about it and buy all the pantry ingredients. That’s why I have a whole cupboard filled with different spices. I also love to go hiking and stay at my summer house in Finland.
Choose your #threewordsforphotography.
Time. Life. Forever.