Leon turns to a wall with photos taken in Rome, Italy – from the Pantheon to the Vatican City, the Catholic Church’s flaunts its prosperity. This, in extreme contrast with the homeless who sleep in its footsteps; possibly a political statement. “The subtlety of how the homeless arrange in modern places” fascinates Leon. He has a sixth sense for what happens at night, and his sensitivity towards anonymity together with an autodidactic, unassuming walk serves him well.
He also knows where to look: At midnight, when everything has settled down, the homeless shelter in the light, often in public spaces. Here, they become static subjects in Leon’s long-exposure photographs. “Something that reveals itself is a city after light”, says Leon. Vehicles turn into dancing light and the image transfigures into a compelling digital painting, but perhaps the most significant of all is how colour manifests itself. Are these colours inviting, or are they cold and hostile? What can they tell us about the city?
Even though sodium lights are well-known for their warm, yellow glow, the quality of light seems to betray a city’s character: Basking in yellow gold tones, the people of Rome remain warm and welcoming after midnight as the homeless wrap themselves in blankets under the stars. In Paris, a city with strikingly cold blue and green hues, the homeless are given tents to sleep in – a kind act, but also one of confinement.