A Streetlight Named Vittoria

By Maurice Pinzon
Vittoria Lui-Madonia, 21 and a senior at the School of Visual Arts, already has her own exhibition that introduces us to a photographer with maturity and great promise.

Lui-Madonia’s black and white photographs, taken at night in New York City and its nearby suburbs, reveals streets and buildings illuminated by a singular light, as if the street lamps turned on a certain way for Ms. Lui-Madonia to take the picture.

These may be streets, parks and houses we have walked by during the day. But not until Ms. Lui-Madonia ventures into the night to photograph them, do we focus our attention on these common places. Ms. Lui-Madonia’s photographs may elicit foreboding, solitude, even a strange stillness of the night. But most interestingly the photos seem like an excavation of the night, as if Ms. Lui-Madonia were the only person ever to have ventured onto the places she photographs.

Two striking pictures show us abandoned baby carriages in the night, one in Patterson, New Jersey and another by an arch at a bridge in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. There are other photos of streets and houses presented uniquely by way of Ms. Lui-Madonia’s eye.

This is how Ms. Lui-Madonia sees it: ìI work with the light at night because it is mysterious and beautiful. We have chosen to light up our world for practical reasons yet in doing so we have taken the most mundane places and turned them into perfect magical stages for the unknown. When I go out to photograph I like to drive around searching for those perfect little moments of mystery and drama.î

Last week at the opening of her exhibition in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Ms. Lui-Madonia explained how she found those places she photographed.

ìSometimes it’ll be something that I see. And I’ll remember it,î she said.

ìIt’s always by chance. It’s all about the moment and the light at night,î she explained.

Asked why there was only a single light in almost all her photographs, Ms. Lui-Madonia said, ìMy eye immediately goes to the glow. At night it glows and has a personality. It’s really is about the light and the feeling of the light.î

Ms. Lui-Madonia said sometimes she searches and goes back to a location at night because it has stuck in her mind when she passed it. Other times she imagines the place and searches for a place that resembles it.

About her photography she wrote: ìI want to show people that there is a whole other world out there when they are getting ready to go to bed. It is a world that is lonely and eerie yet beautiful and captivating at the same time.î

You can see that world at the Laila Lounge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn through December 6, 2004.

This entry was posted in Arts, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.