Since the early 1970s, photographer Roger Vail has been visiting carnivals and documenting the amusement rides through long exposure photos, which turn them from beastly metal machines into beautiful light shapes.
Creators writes that Vail’s fascination and dedication to this particular subject began in the summer of 1971, when the photographer visited a carnival with his 8×10 view camera.
“I had been shooting at night with a view camera mostly in urban settings and time exposure was necessary,” Vail tells Creators. “That summer I made photographs at a carnival for the first time. I thought I would try one of a Ferris wheel not knowing what it would look like. When I saw the film, I was really surprised and pleased with what I got and couldn’t wait to do more.”
Here are two gelatin silver prints of long exposures Vail made in the early 1970s:
Through the years, Vail continued to visit carnivals and add to his growing body of work. Part of his enthusiasm years ago was the fact that the results wouldn’t be seen and known until the film was developed afterward.
In more recent years, Vail has been capturing the same subject in color.
Image credits: All photographs by Roger Vail and used with the permission of the Joseph Bellows Gallery