South-African photographer and visual artist Elsa Bleda captures moody, nighttime scenes that radiate a dream-like fluorescent glow. Bleda’s cinematic images were taken between Istanbul and Johannesburg, but evoke an alternative dystopian reality. In the case of Johannesburg, Bleda explains, “The city reveals itself in a very surreal way with so many Gothic elements that I haven’t come across in another city before.”
Her hauntingly beautiful images depict fog-filled woodlands, desolate city streets, and snow-covered buildings. In each shot, artificial lights dictate the color palette washing the scenes in rich neon hues. Street lamps, corner shops, and mysterious windows emit eerie hazy glows out into the night. In Bleda’s most recent work, signs of life are rare. Human forms are reduced to silhouettes, stark against vivid fluorescence, or picked out by unknown car headlights. In one shot, street pigeons take flight, uplit by a pink neon glare.
In collaboration with Red Bull, Bleda’s upcoming solo exhibition is due to showcase images of Durban, South Africa. As part of the project, Bleda picks a song to accompany each image, which evokes the atmosphere at the time it was taken. “I use music as my guide while I work, in a way I feel like it gives my work a certain direction. So, for me, the songs I post with my photographs act as soundtracks for them, they are inseparable,” she explains. You can preview the exhibition on Red Bull’s website while listening to Bleda’s song choices.
Keep up to date on Bleda’s ongoing work via Instagram.
South-African photographer Elsa Bleda captures moody nightscapes with neon glows.
Street lamps, corner shops, and mysterious windows emit eerie hazy glows out into the night.