(b. 1952, New York, NY. Lives and works in Cambridge, MA)
Nocturnal by Nature
Karl Baden has an unusual reason to make night pictures—he has a condition known as “delayed sleep phase syndrome.” His body clock—which controls the daily sleep/wake cycle—is set opposite of most humans. Under normal circumstances and with some effort, Baden can wrench himself into a daytime schedule. “But in the months since the pandemic forced most of us to retreat inside our homes, I have essentially reverted to my naturally nocturnal self, staying up most of the night, and sleeping most of the day.” During the pandemic, therefore, he has walked at night, carrying a low-light camera while he does. He watches for “signs of life in a community of social creatures who’ve been forced to avoid others.” The images are both eerie and commonplace. They are not posed but caught in the moment. They are not prurient but somehow deeply intimate.