Humans, like ducks and butterflies, often migrate south for the winter. When Washington D.C.-based photographer Frank Hallam Day decided to flee the cold season in the northeast for Florida, he stumbled across a decidedly non-native form of life: camper RVs, scattered throughout the subtropical undergrowth.
“They appeared to me a little like those crouching animals in the native jungle paintings by Henri Rousseau,” Day tells Co.Design. Defying his name, Day conducts most of his work at night, and tends to focus on manmade oddities and artifacts. The spooky, supernatural glow of his RV Night images comes from his trekking through the foliage in darkness with a tripod and a bag of lights. (So as not to creep out any actual humans, he told passersby that he was photographing owls.)
In Day’s photos, the parked campers are nocturnal creatures, with eyes aglow in the dark--casting a light on the always curious and complicated dynamic between us and nature, particularly nature after the sun goes down. “People have many different interpretations of these images, but to me they are about a dysfunctional relationship with nature,” he says. “People are hiding inside their life-support pods from something lurking in the darkness beyond.”
The neon glow emanating from the windows of retro Airstreams and SunSports in a sense spans light years, with a radioactive energy that hints at scenes from a sci-fi film, or life on another planet. Day notices it too: “The isolation of each one is also striking to me. It does look like the inhabitants have fled some toxic event somewhere, seeking refuge by themselves.”
If that is the case, they’ve found shelter in a place that’s beautiful and darkly mysterious.
Day’s portraits are collected in his book Nocturnal, available here for $35.