Céline Stella, NOUR

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Lightbulb Moment

Photographer Céline Stella makes a surprising discovery on a journey through the Saudi desert...

Let’s be honest, unless it’s done with a lot of skill, neon can look a bit naff. Granted, there are some talented artists working in the medium today (late Chris Bracey one of its pioneers), hand-making the gas-filled glass tubes and producing some excellent work, but your bog-standard factory fabricated fluorescent tubes? Nothing to write home about, or so you would think…

It was on a night-time drive through the deserts outside Jeddah in Saudi Arabia that Céline Stella came across a sight that was to make her look at neon lights with fresh eyes. The darkness covered everything with a seemingly impenetrable cloak of black as far as the eye could see, but out of nowhere the horizon was suddenly pierced with first one, then several beacons of light. As the photographer drew closer, she saw the light was emanating form roadside kiosks bedecked with neon tubes and bulbs. Their colours’ contrast with the deep black background was an arresting sight, confounding the artist’s expectation of deserts as empty and barren places.

As Stella’s guide pointed out, the area had, until 100 years previously, been without electricity. The bright bulbs, as well as drawing in travellers like the proverbial moths, acted as a form of status symbol advertising the owners’ prosperity along with their wares. Stella’s photographs are being released in book form under the title NOUR. The hardback volume, in a limited edition of 150 copies, consists of 40 full-colour pages printed in the UK using a Heidelberg CD74 on Amadeus Primo Gloss, with a Winters Wibalin Buckram binding. Which all sounds very nice. Visit publisher NO UFOs for purchase details.

@Celine_Stella

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All images by Céline Stella,
taken from her limited-edition book NOUR,
published by NO UFOs, and available from www.noufos.co
Follow her on Instagram at Celine.stella and follow NO UFOs at no_ufos

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