Noir City
Project info

For over three decades, my work has explored the urban landscape. An ongoing inspiration for me has been film noir, a genre of American film from the 1940s and 50s. These films were usually set in the urban jungle and featured desperate people in dire situations. Film noirs took full advantage of their city locations and a low-key black and white lighting style to create a mood of anxiety, mystery, and anticipation.

My photographs feature characteristically noir settings, with stark lighting, dramatic shadows, skewed framing, and characters whose faces are often mask-like or partially obscured. My interest in the cinematic form extends to the type of images created for this series: establishing, close-up, reaction, and cutaway shots. Thus, these images can be sequenced to suggest any number of dark narratives.

—Jason Tannen