Baltimore photographer Josh Sinn makes pictures inspired by music. It can be a tune that’s stuck in his head or a song that comes on the car radio as the drives through the city on a cold winter evening. When asked why he shoots after dark, the artist responds with a line from Nappy Brown and Ray Charles: “Night time is the right time.”
At his most active, Sinn was out on the road during all seasons in search of sleeping treasures. On warm nights, he can work at a slower pace, while the winter chill requires he get the shot in time to dash back to the warmth of his car.
Still, the medium format photographer appreciates the loneliness of the colder months. At night, all his senses are heightened, and he’s aware of any potential encounters with other pedestrians. In suburbia, he’s found people are protective over their streets, while in the heart of the city, he can blend with the crowd.
“People in the city are used to unusual things,” Sinn explains, “like a weird guy with a camera walking around shooting old cars.”
The artist doesn’t necessarily believe in “timelessness.” He thinks it’s cliché, especially when used in reference to photographs. He’s reaching for something more mysterious. Whether he’s looking for classic cars or illuminated motel signs, his photographs are about whatever it is people leave behind when they go away. He calls them “leftovers.”
Maybe it’s romantic to think the city of Baltimore turns back the clock each night when the sun goes down, but maybe it’s also true. Sinn and his friend and colleague Patrick Joust both stay up after everyone else has turned out their lights, film cameras in hand. Their personal Baltimores aren’t identical, but they occupy that same hazy space between dusk and dawn, the past and the present.
All images © Josh Sinn