Blue Hour and Night Photography in the Ruhr

This summer I will be working with the visual artist Trent Bates on the Lighting the Ruhr project. Trent will be visiting from the United States where he works as an Adjunct Professor at Brigham Young University, Utah.

Trent specialises in photography (analogue and digital), photo-editing, gallery installation and fine arts lecturing. He has exhibited his work in a number of exhibitions and publications and formerly worked as a photo-editor for Getty Images. Here are some examples of his work.

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Through July 2017, we will explore the links between industrial sites in the Ruhr and the practice of amateur photography. We hope to meet photographers and members of photo clubs in the region who take photographs at industrial sites in the ‘blue hour’ and at night. The blue hour is the hour around twilight when the sky darkens to a deep blue hue but there is still some light to see. Blue hour photography is covered in Thomas Pflaum’s book Fotografieren im Ruhrgebiet.


Henrichshütte, Hattingen: in the blue hour. Photo Hilary Orange

We will also be studying images in photo archives, such as the extensive archive held at the Ruhr Museum, to trace the evolution of industrial motifs within regional photography, for example, the documentation and presentation of company history (Farrenkopf 2008), as well as photographs published in various publications, digital platforms and exhibited since the early twentieth century.

We are currently discussing various outputs, possibly an exhibition and a magazine article.

I welcome contact with amateur photographers working in the Ruhrgebiet, particularly those who include within their repertoire images of illuminated industrial sites at night. Please get in touch by emailing or adding a comment below.


Michael Farrenkopf, 2008, ‘Coal : The Myth’ – the image of the Ruhr area as reflected in the industrial photographs of mining enterprises,  in Christoph Bartels and Claudia Küpper-Eicha Cultural heritage and landscapes in Europe/Landschaften: Kulturelles Erbe in Europa, Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum, 145-168.

Thomas Pflaum, 2015, Fotografieren im Ruhrgebiet, Bonn: Rheinwerk Fotografie


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