/20 Night

Markus Henttonen

Silent Night

Silent Night is a series of photographs of brightly lighted houses in the empty neighbourhoods of L.A. It is Christmas but it feels eerie and dark –quite the opposite of the holiday spirit and festive season feelings.

This series is strongly balancing between the real and imagination. There are no people actually present, but you can sense their presence; a car parked on the driveway, a small light on the window. You can also sense a strong tension between the environment and habitants. It is fine to look at the surface but you should not go any further. Armed response and Neighbourhood watch signs indicate that there is a clear line you are not allowed to cross. It is the glamorous and bright surface that makes the inside seem even darker. In these photographs everything looks to be ok but it doesn´t feel right.

The bright lights and surrounding shadows create an ominous feeling. This is where the mind starts to wander, the questions arise. Which is really a safer place to be? Where is everyone, inside? Is there someone outside observing? Why does the darkness feel so frightening? Imagination mixes up with reality and stories from the news. Interpretations start to build up in the viewers´ mind.

These pictures of the houses in the silent night are full of stories of people, of the society we live in and everything around us. Everyone will look at the pictures and relate to the arising stories from their own perspective, based on your own experiences, feelings and life events.

There are as many stories to these as there are viewers.