Lynn Saville specializes in photographing cities between twilight and dawn, when the daylight gives way to moonlight, neon, and street light. Her night-time wanderings have taken her to ambiguous, transitional areas, leading her to capture sites and neighborhoods that are often deserted or overlooked. Stripped of human presence, our focus is drawn to fundamental elements of the city, such as bridges, billboards, and walls, that exist in Saville’s photographs for their own sake rather than components of urban living.
In her photographs of New York at night, the city appears suspended in time, as Saville captures the moment when one state of being is on the brink of becoming something else, when day turns to night, and night to day. In a more literal sense, Saville’s photographs map the transformation of the city as formerly industrial areas give way to residential developments. Shuttered storefronts and empty streets, often bathed in ambient, artificial light, acknowledge a rarely seen aspect of these urban landscapes, both mysterious and unsettling.
Born in Durham, North Carolina, Lynn Saville lives and works in New York City. She earned her BA from Duke University and her MFA from Pratt Institute. Her work has been widely exhibited in the US and abroad, including at The Photographers’ Gallery, London; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina; Tucson Museum of Art; and Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University. Her work can be found in numerous major public collections including National Portrait Gallery, London; International Center of Photography, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.
Saville has published three monographs: Acquainted with the Night (Rizzoli, 1997); Night/Shift (Monacelli/Random House, 2009), with an introduction by Arthur C. Danto; and Dark City: Urban America at Night (Damiani, 2015), with an introduction by Geoff Dyer. Saville’s archives were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.