In 2008 I was granted special airside access to some of the most interesting airports in Europe. Those I chose had a key role in history (the Azores, for example, was a compulsory stop for transatlantic flights prior to 1970 and a military base in both World Wars). Almost all the images were produced at night, using the aprons’ floodlights, moonlight, long or double exposures of between twenty minutes to two hours.
Some of the airports on the Azores archipelago are unique. They are amongst the very few black-tarred runways in the world, and it is the relationship between the dark tarmac and the fluorescent painted signs and runway markings that lies at the heart of some of the most arresting images. This unusual combination allowed me to produce incredibly abstract images, with a very long depth of field and often with the use of minimal lighting. In some, sky and ground merge in darkness with only the lights and airport hieroglyphics to orient us.
In reflecting on the complexity of the negotiations between estranged lives and de-territorialized worlds, one might wonder if the generic city is synonymous with the contemporary airport.
Immured in temporality and suffering from a sense of historical discontinuity, the airport is the elementary expression of abstract space. It renders everyone weightless. It is the space of the uprooted.