Nightlight : Project Statement

My self-portrait project, Nightlight, is a series of long-exposure photographs created in 40 different homes.  From February - October, 2017 I traveled to 40 different homes in Phoenix and surrounding towns; Bisbee, Prescott, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Goodyear, Chandler, and Payson. My series of images are made upon first waking in the murky blue darkness an hour before dawn in 40 guest bedrooms.

Self-portraiture can be a solo endeavor, with a long history as a reflective practice for the artist through which they question, explore, and deepen their personal relationship with their creative processes. With Nightlight, I wanted to question and explore through the lens of community. My mobile phone is the sole source of artificial light, the “nightlight.” The resulting self-portrait images contain ghostly double-exposures, transparent shadows, and slept-in beds. I am seen “as-is” - revealing an acceptance of time, place and self. The room is not staged; I am not coiffed nor dressed for the camera. These images are personal, yet the project is public.This paradox, a yin-yang or introvert/extrovert undercurrent entices me.


Searching for and scheduling 40 hosted sleep-overs in 40 different locations, with 40 different families invites/encourages/coaxes me and the host(s) into a deeper reflection and exploration of my art and artistic expression. Through the ordinariness of the sleep-over occasion, together we can then experience the graciousness of shared time, space and human connection. We can build community and experience fellowship.

I set the number to 40 for three reasons; 1. to be able to reach my goal within in one year (2017), 2. to ensure I would create a large enough volume of images and 3. To be able to meet and stay with people outside of my immediate friends and family circle.

Exhibition Plan

  1. 10-12 photographs printed and mounted - 34” x 40” Digital C Prints, see images in DropBox, images are titled by the date they were made. Images are shown as they will be printed.

  2. A diorama; a 1:12 scale replica of image #6894

  3. My behind-the-scenes materials digitized and accessible for visitors on an iPad including;

    1. Additional Nightlight images - over 1200 images were made

    2. Project notes with drawings, diagrams and plans.

    3. Tiny time-lapse videos showing the making of the diorama.

    4. Short audio clips - featuring my “after effects” - short narratives describing how the project impacted me emotionally and psychologically.  

The photographs, diorama and behind-the-scenes materials offer viewers three distinctive mediums to connect with. Paradoxes await the viewer of the show too because the images are revealing and concealing at the same time focusing on a time of day when who we are is not yet fully put together, packaged, and polished.


Each viewer can step into these images as their experiences of predawn are reflected for them. Their worries, their aspirations, their success, and their failures merge with mine as they experience this project.

I successfully launched and fulfilled a Kickstarter campaign, fulfilled 100% on 10/27/17 - funds raised are earmarked to produce an exhibition of this project.

Night Water : Project Statement

See Google Map of my progress.

Phoenix is intense and harsh under the daylight sun, yet magical and beautiful at night when color is sultry and saturated - it’s palatable. A time when color reveals itself as tangible. I want to capture this heady mix within the urban landscape. Deliberately devoid of humans, my photography centers on architecture, streetscapes, city vistas - the lesser seen and the unseen within a human built framework.

Night Water is my series exploring Phoenix at night - focused solely on the nine canal systems. Scenes here are from portions of two of the nine.

I am motivated by knowing I will find something. Something beautiful, intriguing and worthwhile. It’s within this process; seeking, seeing, capturing - this is where I am most at home, this is where I want to be - here in the desert, at night.

For more info on the canals visit - by no means is this an exhaustive list:

Arizona Canal

Arizona Canal

Grand Canal

Grand Canal

Western Canal

Western Canal

HOT SUMMER NIGHTS : Project Statement


See Phoenix through loving eyes. . . . at night.
As night descends, the city is bathed in rich, saturated, vibrant color. Blues and purples wash the urban environment, juxtaposing the naturally occurring with the human made. What better time to photograph Phoenix in the Summer, than at night.

HOT SUMMER NIGHTS is a collaborative photographic project. Jared’s images were created with a large-format camera whose design is rooted in the mid-19th century. His series is shot entirely on transparency film with a low rating of ISO 10. Each image required between 8 and 45 minutes of exposure. Catherine’s images are purely digital, blending the immediacy that using digital offers with the ability to photograph manually. Marshall provided the accompanying historical context. All three; Jared, Catherine and Marshall are Arizona transplants who love to call Phoenix their home.

HOT SUMMER NIGHTS debuted at Chartreuse Gallery, 1301 Grand Avenue, Phoenix, September 4 - 30, 2015. Check out the following press:  Chartreuse gallery adds a splash of color to Grand Avenue's expanding arts scene , Downtown Devil15 FAVORITE FIRST FRIDAY ART WORKS SEEN IN SEPTEMBER IN DOWNTOWN PHOENIXNew TimesChartreuse Gallery Opens with ‘Hot Summer Nights’Downtown Phoenix Journal

You may view the 11x17 works by Jared Elizares and I, as well as accompanying texts by Marshall Shore, in the Hot Summer Nights Catalogue, PDF.  View Gallery of images.

What Food Looks Like : Project Statement


In January, 2015 I started a project I named “What Food Looks Like”. I am photographing food, food access, food insecurity and food deserts in the form of urban community gardens, farmers and farms, neighborhoods, people and organizations here in the Phoenix metro area. 

Within the first four months I had visited 25 places, including; Mesa Urban Garden, The Urban Garden, The Micro Farm Project, Growhouse, Gilbert Farmer’s Market, Recycled City Compost, Arizona Microgreens, The Orchard Community Learning Center, PHX Renews, Garfield Community Garden, Hayden Flour Mills, Hope House Farms, St. Mary’s Foodbank, The Simple Farm, St. Vincent de Paul, Neighborhood Ministries Foodbank. I walked and photographed the eight neighborhoods of Central City South identified in a 2011 study completed by the ASU School of Sustainability in conjunction with the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation’s study on food access.

Selected image included in the JEG Photography Exhibition Feb 15 - Marech 9, 2016, Texas Woman's University. 

Contact me if you would like to discuss my project or you want to use my images for your organization, business or personal use. All images are Copyright 2016, Catherine Slye.