In his Series "I always hoped for better" Photographer David Egan captures the neon glow of rural Nevada at night. This series gives us particular sensations, like if it was shot in a different time with landscapes that were left behind sometime in the 70s.
From old-fashioned hotel rooms bathed in pink light, to classic motel signs and lonely lamps illuminating quiet gas stations, Egan’s night photographies document a Nevada that feels worlds away from Las Vegas.
Let's discover his amazing series in full resolution, powered by Prodibi and with explanations of the artist.
A few words about you? Explain me a little bit how you started photography.
Photography is something that I have been passionate about throughout my entire life. I was fortunate enough to take darkroom courses at a summer camp around the age of 10 and that was my first real experience. I took this same course several times and also took a darkroom course in high school as well. Around the age of 17, I was photographing my friends or family or things that were in my room, nothing too exciting though. Years passed and I eventually found a real interest in photography and video and the idea of making things. There is something very satisfying about making something tangible.
In 2006 I took a trip by myself from California to Florida and brought along a small little digital camera. I took lots of photographs on that trip and started making prints. My interest continued as I purchased a DSLR camera and began thinking about pursuing photography for a living. In the summer of 2009, I started attending Academy of Art University and received my MFA degree photography in August of 2012.
What is your philosophy about Architecture & Landscape Photography? Why did you choose that kind of photography?
I’m not sure I have a philosophy about architecture or landscape photography I think that is primarily where my interests lie. I have an interest in history and the American landscape.
Photographers such as Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld, Alec Soth, and Richard Misrach are big influences on my photography. There is something very beautiful about the land and understanding how light can transform a scene.
I enjoy making portraits as well but I feel as though I have more access to the land. I like that I can make a photograph by myself at 3 in the morning. I don’t want anyone’s help or influence if possible. I like to have complete control over my process.
*Read on the same topic: Spooky Nighttime Landscape Photography by Simas Lin
About your series "I always hoped for better" that was made in Nevada, is it possible to tell us a few words about the story?
This series began because I needed a break from the monotony of the city of San Francisco. Sometimes I feel a little trapped living in the city so I find that taking trips is a stress reliever. I also use travel to seek out new places and things I want to focus on and photograph. So in April of 2015 I made a trip to Reno, Nevada and made several photographs. After returning and having the work developed and scanned I liked some of the results and I decided that I would return again soon. I made multiple trips to Reno and began to unconsciously make night photographs.
Eventually I traveled to other places outside of Reno and noticed that there were a lot of towns or cities throughout the state that all had a similar mood. A lot of these places used to be something, stopovers on the way west or just towns with a big motel, casino, or restaurant. As I continued to make photographs I noticed the feeling of absence to the imagery. As the project came together I traveled to other spots in Nevada and filled in some gaps. I started making photographs that had a focus and feeling. It has been a fascinating journey of exploration.
There is something quite scary in that series because it is completely empty from humans and life, it looks like a ghost town which is super interesting! What is the purpose?
- Initially, I did not make a conscious decision to make this work scary or ghostly in any way but I think that my choice of framing and subject matter has created this vibe. I did make the choice not to include people but that also occurs because these are long exposures. I was very much focused on color and mood for this work. Additionally, I wanted to make work that I enjoyed creating.
About your photography gear. What is your favorite photography equipment? If you would have to choose one lens, what would it be and why?
This project was photographed with a 4x5 large format view camera with a 150mm Rodenstock lens and color negative sheet film. I have been working with this camera for about 7 years now and it is by far my favorite. The process of making photographs by myself with a large format camera might be the thing that I currently enjoy the most in life. The camera forced me to slow down and appreciate my surroundings.
Also working with large format negatives and shooting at night with this project has allowed me to produce work that achieves a color palette that could not be achieved digitally. Not only is the analog process beneficial to the quality of color and the mood of the work but also the size of the negative creates stunning results, as there is very little if any noticeable grain in the photographs. This lack of grain allows me to make big beautiful prints.
Do you have another project for the future (exhibition etc...)
- I haven’t begun to work on a new project yet. I am always making photographs or working on something photographic but it seems to take time for me to find the next thing. It is also challenging finding the time to get out and focus on making a new project, as I prefer to work outside of my living area. I do have some projects that I would eventually like to make but as of now those will stay in my head. For the time being, I have been making trips to the palm springs/Salton sea area of California. I really find this area fascinating and I enjoy the appearance of the desert land.
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