Alex Bamford’s photographs make familiar landscapes alien. Streaks of coloured light balls roll tumbleweed-like across seafronts and “fight” in forgotten corners. Against natural backdrops devoid of human presence, there’s a sense of otherworldliness, that the viewer is privy to something fleeting and magical.

The process by which the Brighton-based photographer creates them is somewhat less mysterious. “I set up a sturdy tripod and set a long exposure – about three minutes,” he explains, “Then I bring out a plastic bag full of bike lights and do some bad dancing. When I’ve done that for a minute or so, I put the bag away and walk out of the shot.”

An advertising art director by day, Alex was inspired to experiment with his own photography after working on a campaign for Land Rover on Mount Fuji with a photo- grapher who shot only at night and, in that instance, under a full moon. Stunned by the resulting photographs, Alex resolved to try something similar when he returned to Brighton and began taking images of Sussex forests, coastlines and fields beneath moonlight. They looked “quiet”, so he added light graffiti for contrast. “There’s a serenity in the landscapes and I like the fact I’m doing crazy, random scribbles on that.”

Lately, Alex has swapped carrier bag dancing for a rod with lights positioned along it, which he can use to create continuous swooshing, looping trails through trees and down steps. It’s a more tricksy technique but the results are worth it. “The steps at Peaceheaven (pictured below) were quite difficult,” he says. “There was a lot of effort involved in the five-minute climb and descent. And I took one on a row of hay bales that was rather over-ambitious too. But I like the randomness, you can’t control it completely.”

One suspects this is becoming something of an obsession. “I’ve only done two of the long, swirly light trails,” he muses, “and I’ve got quite a few ideas for these. I quite fancy going urban, tracing light through a deserted Brighton city centre.” And if it’s not deserted? Even in Brighton, Alex’s nocturnal pursuits must attract a bit of attention. “I’ve managed to avoid other people so far,” he says. “I’m going out at 1am after all. I’m slightly frightened of freaking people out, so I tend to wait until the coast is clear.”

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