Wandering the deserted backroads of the American Southwest, Troy Paiva has explored the abandoned underbelly of America since the 1970s. Since 1989 he’s been taking pictures of it . . . at night, by the light of the full moon.
A multi-discipline artist, Troy needed to find a new medium to create personal art while he worked in a heavily art directed graphic design job. Sitting in on a few night photography classes, he had a revelation when the subject of light-painting came up. Here were techniques that would be perfect for capturing the atmosphere and mystery of the modern ghost towns and epic junkyards he was already exploring. After years of development, Troy's early vision has been fully realized through his unique style and technique. The colored lighting is done with a flashlight or strobe flash masked with theatrical lighting gels. It's effect reanimates these dead places, turning them into mutant tableaus of some vaguely familiar parallel universe. The minutes-long exposures allow the stars to spiral around Polaris and the moving clouds to smear ethereally across the sky. Many of these subjects are already gone; bulldozed, burned down, subdivided, melted for scrap or simply vanished beneath the shifting desert sand.