Surrealistic Nocturne

The latest Online Exhibition of Night Photography
Juried by Michael S. Bell, and Hosted by The Nocturnes

The invites all interested artists to enter our online Night Photography Exhibition, Surrealistic Nocturne. This competition is open to all night photographers, all formats (including digital), all photo media - we ask only that your final outcome would normally be a fine photographic print - b/w, color, alternative process, whatever - presenting mysterious, riveting nocturnal imagery. We've often thought that there's a special (some might say obvious) link between Surrealism and Night Photography.

This exhibit, inspired by a recent lively "thread" of messages occurring on our message board, NightTalk (starting at and The Nocturnes' longtime infatuation with the surrealistic effects of night photography, will explore the connections between the roots of Surrealism (some consider the movement dead - we say Surrealism lives!) and dark, experimental, dreamlike night photography. Influenced by the earlier, chaotic Dada movement and Freud's work with dreams and the unconscious, as well as reacting to the horrors of World War I and its aftermath, Andre Breton and the first wave of Surrealists strove to make the imaginary (the dream-state) real, madness more the norm, and the commonplace ("Ready-mades") high art. Like the Brian Wilson/Carne Wilson contribution (Fantasy is Reality) to Rob Wasserman's extraordinary "Trios" CD from 1994 alludes: " . . . when I hear the bells of madness ring, I will listen to the silence," the Surrealists were primary border-breakers - between fantasy and reality, dreams and awakened states, night and day. For further discussion of these Avant Garde pioneers and their exploration of the world of dreams, you might try the following links:

So, now you're dreaming - what do you see? What do you want to see? - that's really what nocturnal photography is all about. Even more than its diurnal twin, it is "writing with light" (from the Greek). Like the "Mouvement surrealiste," it is primarily concerned with the commonplace, with spontaneity, experimental work (Automatism), dream logic (it is the nocturne, after all!), and the rendering of scenes that leave the viewer feeling a little edgy, that things are "not quite right" (see Magritte's L'Empire des lumieres - The Dominion of Light - which investigates the simultaneous presence of day and night, a night photography "night for day" phenomenon). Once again, have a look at the sites and papers mentioned above, or "Google" Andre Breton, Savador Dali, Rene Magritte, or Man Ray. Maybe take a look at your old art school projects - the ones incorporating Solarization (the Sabattier effect, developed by Surrealist Man Ray, along with Lee Miller), the Photogram (Man Ray again), Photomontage/Collage, and Double Exposure. Then, with a newly focused "nocturnal eye" - have a go at it!

As always, take a look at the online exhibit area of The Nocturnes Web site - for example, one of our recent offerings, California Nocturne - - for an idea of what we might be looking for.

This Exhibit runs from Halloween, October 31 through December 31, 2003. Accepted work will then reside in a developing archive of nocturnal imagery on The Nocturnes Web site after the exhibition,
Surrealistic Nocturne, closes - available to Night Photographers and those interested in Night Photography, worldwide.

Two (2) Awards will be awarded at the discretion of the Awards Juror, Michael S. Bell, a noted Curator who has done extensive research on Surrealism - a Best of Show and an Honorable Mention (Prize Money to be announced). This final jurying will be done from a preliminary selection of works by members of The Nocturnes.