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Reclaiming the Night is a series of photographs that deal with my personal experience of the night. The black and white images represent a ten-year exploration of fears traditionally associated with the night. Like most women, I was conditioned to fear the night and taught not to go out alone. I began photographing after dark in an attempt to confront my fears, and to challenge the “rules of the night” which ban women from that realm of experience. Some of the images contain hand-written narratives which suggest the unspoken threats and veiled intimidation that are so prevalent in women’s lives. Others reveal a duality in my attitude toward the night.

Simultaneously attracted to its beauty, and repelled by fear, I consciously exercise my right to relish the night, regardless of risk (imagined or real). Therefore, many of the images focus on the beauty of the night. Through the act of photographing, and consequently aestheticizing these desolate spaces, I am transforming fear into freedom and controlling what was once forbidden. The work symbolizes my intolerance toward cultural constraints placed upon women, and my refusal to conform to expectations based on gender. The images represent the missing female voice in the silence of the night.

Deborah Orloff

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