By Laura Collinson

Marta Beltowska is a London-based photographer, with a passion for neon signs. This collection of kitsch images is entitled In The Form Of Neon.

The photographer explains: “In The Form Of Neon is a photographic documentation of neon signs, which started out of admiration for sign design and now continues as a keepsake of a slowly vanishing handicraft.

“Neon signs remind me of home, as where I grew up in Sweden it’s dark and cold most of the year, and as a kid I would see old neon signs glowing through the darkness in the city. As I moved to London, a big, bright blue neon cinema sign near my new home triggered this memory.

“There appears to be nostalgia and a sense of drama in our collective memory of neon, and I find it interesting that a type of light, a type of advertisement, can have such an effect on people, as well as the ‘feel’ of a city and area.

“When reaching out to actual neon makers, I’ve noticed a certain secrecy – and paranoia, maybe – amongst them. Apparently it stems from the golden period of the 1920s and 1930s when neon had a French patent, and bad bootleg neon was abundant (Stern, 1979, Let There Be Neon), hence makers being secretive about designs and technique.”

“I’ve tried for a long time to label myself as either a documentary or fine art photographer, but have realised that my main priority is to tell a story through my work – whether it’s a staged image or a candid street photograph. Usually I would deal with very internal and personal issues, but am now attempting to branch out and tell the stories of others.”

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