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Glow-In-The-Dark Portraits Reveal DJs’ Dual Personas

Graphic designer Alex Trochut’s Binary Prints expose the divide between daytime and performance modes.

About a year ago, the graphic designer Alex Trochut started taking photographs of what would turn into a serious cool-kid list of electronic musicians and DJs. His plan was to cast a new light on the duality between each musician’s daytime and nocturnal, or performance-mode, persona.

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Trochut began at the Creamfields dance festival, in Andalucia, Spain, where he shot Caribou and Four Tet, among others. Trochut photographed the rest of the musicians later in New York, Berlin, and Barcelona, where he’s based. “We shoot them in a tiny room backstage. Everything was very spontaneous, and all the artists were enthusiastic,” Trochut tells Co.Design.

Although Trochut calls the roster “a wish list” of some of his musical heroes, his Binary Prints series has much deeper roots than pure fandom. Trochut’s background is in typography; his 2011 book catalogs some of his experimental type creations. The cover of More Is More packs a one-two punch and also informs the Binary Prints project. Trochut decked out the lime-green binding in phosphorescent ink, so in the dark, it glows bright with an ornate fleur-de-lis-like pattern.


“After designing the cover of my book, where I hid an image on a blank surface, I started to wonder if I could work on two images on the same surface: one of the day and one for the night,” Trochut says. His unique printmaking technique works like a chessboard, he says. Black squares mingle strategically with white squares that are painted with glow-in-the-dark ink. Trochut says the images seek a “balance between the figurative (face) and the abstract (music), aiming to draw a natural bridge between shapes and sounds.”

Like any performer, a DJ assumes a new persona when he goes on stage. Maybe it’s for show, or maybe it’s a realm of intense sonic focus. But Trochut captures the switch–from inconspicuous Everyman in a white undershirt to reigning king of the dance floor–in immaculate detail every time. It’s not clear–and doesn’t need to be –which version represents the more authentic self. Interestingly, in the lit photos, the musicians appear peacefully asleep. (LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is straight up yawning.) In the dark photos, they become animated and lively. It’s no coincidence: “Anyone who has been present at those transcendental moments of communion at a show can attest to the experience as an awakening,” Trochut says.

See more of Trochut’s work here.

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About the author

Margaret Rhodes is a former associate editor for Fast Company magazine.

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