Photographer Ray Knox tells us about his lockdown project, Close to Home, in which he ventured out onto north London's deserted streets at night, capturing a still and silent city.
I started my photography project shortly after the introduction of the first lockdown as a way of alleviating my restlessness from being confined to home all day.
I would venture out on my neighbourhood walks just after dusk when the streets were deserted and eerily quiet.
Initially, I stuck quite close to home but over time I kept increasing the distance I covered on my meandering strolls around north London.
The solitude I found wandering the streets was an almost meditative experience of simply observing as I walked.
It gave me the chance to explore my local surroundings more closely and notice things I had overlooked for years.
What a revelation, streets so familiar during the day were completely transformed after dark.
Artificial light at night is much more controlled, and you can almost see more clearly because the light focuses your attention on a certain feature or colour.
It also illuminates a scene in much the same way you would light a still life or a stage set.
I get excited when I have the opportunity to photograph in fog as this gives light a wonderful cinematic quality, reminiscent of film noir.
During lockdown I photographed some of north London's iconic cinemas and was particularly moved by signage on the Phoenix in East Finchley, "DEAR VIRUS YOU WILL NOT KILL CINEMAS".
My images changed dramatically when the streets lights in the area were converted to LEDs, which produce a white light compared to the previous orange glow of sodium lights.
One of my favourite photographs is the house with a red curtain. I find it fascinating how ambient light at night can transform a mundane space, inducing a surreal, dreamlike quality and create an air of mystery.
I believe there is an infinite amount of interesting pictures to be made on our doorstep, but you have to search for them.
Looking ahead I hope to continue this project through capturing the quiet beauty of my neighbourhood at night, which often goes unnoticed.
See more images from Closer to Home — and other Ray Knox photography projects on his website.
All images © Ray Knox.