Tom Paiva

Los Angeles photographer, Tom Paiva, often finds himself working in another reality, creating his photographs long after our heads have hit the pillow. Tom received his BFA from the San Francisco Academy of Art, and for the last 15 years has worked as a freelance photographer specializing in large format photography of industrial and maritime settings, as well as architecture and interiors. Tom is passionate about night photography and is a co-founder of The Nocturnes, an organization dedicated to night photography, and has recently started a blog that celebrates twilight and night photography. What I love about Tom’s work is that his night images elevate industrial structures to epic proportions, the same structures that seen during the day don’t get a second glance.

Tom has a new project, Closed Auto Dealerships, that shot at twilight bring a strange beauty to a sad subject.

Closed Auto Dealerships: Over the past year I have been working on this project of the closed auto dealerships in Los Angeles. Well over 3500 dealerships have closed nationwide, laying off an estimated 200,000 people. This presence is felt in these acres of empty asphalt and boarded up buildings.

This impact was an obvious indicator of the ailing economy and inspired me to take the project on and both document and try and capture that feeling of loss. It is particularly powerful when shot at night. While I was scouting and shooting this project, I thought about the people who worked there and the thriving businesses they once were.

Early on, I decided to shoot this project in 8×10, which gave me the discipline to really study the subject and be very deliberate about composition and lighting.