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Markus Henttonen

There’s Nobody There is the eerily suggestive subtitle of Finnish photographer Markus Henttonen’s Silent Night, a collection of images of the exteriors of American houses and their “festive light decorations” taken at night during the holiday season. Rather than providing a cheery answer as to what the holiday season means in the U.S. or alluding to that familiar scene of the fireplace and hot cocoa, these images shed only a bit of light onto each scene, and what is withheld ends up feeling more formidable than what is illuminated.

Long exposure times reveal the city behind the houses, and the pickup trucks, man-made fences, and electricity poles we see serve as a reminder that Christmas has less to do with the fantasy of the North Pole and more to do with an effort to create a façade that reads well to the outside world. In these images we see no people, no Christmas trees, no presents, no red and green themes—just the darkness of the sky, the solitude of the homes, and the “cheer” that these little lights have been bought to provide.

Markus Henttonen

Markus Henttonen

Markus Henttonen

Markus Henttonen

This post was contributed by photographer Sahara Borja.

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