TH: Your first book TO:KY:OO focused on the nocturnal life of one city, while After Dark explores cities around the world. How does your process differ from place to place?
LW: For me, the feeling of a city is dictated by its architecture. In mostly every image of mine, architecture dominates the frame and so whenever I visit cities, I look for the most impressive (or peculiar) structures and alleyways. There’s always a challenge with shooting low-light as some cities are not so well lit.
With After Dark, I think it’s interesting for the viewer to see other cities at similar hours.
TH: Can you walk us through one of your after dark photography sessions? How do you choose where you’ll explore, what do you like to bring, and how long do you tend to photograph for?
LW: Whenever I’m in a new city, I browse through street view on Google Maps ahead of visiting and map out all the areas of interest using different icons, like a video game world map.
I visit the spots during the day to get a feel for the area, as there have been times I have wandered into quite seedy and unsafe areas without knowing, so I’m always cautious.
In terms of equipment, I often shoot in the rain, so I am usually fully kitted in Gore-Tex from head to toe. If it’s not raining, I can mostly just have one camera and some of my lenses in a backpack (24-70, 50mm, 35mm). I try my best to blend in and not look like a photographer.
I usually spend around five hours each night from midnight (after dark) until around 5 A.M. (before light).