Thursday, January 21, 2016


Hopper's painting has got to be one of the favorite sources cited by wannabee artist photographers. It pops up all over the place. Hop on flickr and search for Nighthawks. It's 75% birds, 10% planes, 5% random crap, and 10% random pictures taken from outside restaurants.

I suddenly realized why.

How do you shoot this thing? You lurk around in the dark outside a restaurant, and then take a picture of people inside the restaurant. That's it. It's easy, and, this is the important thing, it's safe. Your victims can't see you, since you're lurking around in the dark pretty far away, and they're inside, in the light.

You get to namedrop a well-known name and wrap yourself in his banner, you get to shoot some legit-looking "street"-ish stuff, and it's safe.

And pretty much any shot will come out looking vaguely reminiscent of the painting. Restaurants use more or less the same warm lighting as they did in Hopper's day, and the night remains, well, dark. But of course random figures seen through windows is to more or less miss the point of the painting.


  1. You've been reading Ming's blog again!
    Bad boy!!
    I like Chicago as a city, but have never been inspired to take photographs there.
    I must be doing something wrong!LOL

    1. Guilty of course ;)

      But "Nighthawks" really is a thing. flickr will turn up thousands of these things, all equally stupid!