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Tom Blachford · Midnight Modern


Young Melbourne photographer Tom Blachford has found a special niche within the world of mid century design appreciation.

Over three separate trips to Palm Springs since 2013, Tom has created a photographic series called ‘Midnight Modern’ which offers a new perspective on some of California’s iconic modernist homes.  The response has been HUGE.

27th April, 2015
Lucy Feagins
Monday 27th April 2015

It really feels as though modernism is having a renaissance moment right now.  I can’t help but notice that more and more Australians seem to be making the pilgrimage to ‘Modernism Week’ in Palm Springs each year, and given we’re all plugged into Instagram 24/7… it’s not hard to live vicariously through their travels!

Young Melbourne photographer Tom Blachford has found his own niche within the world of mid century architecture appreciation – he has traveled to Palm Springs three times over the past two years, creating a photographic series called ‘Midnight Modern’ which has propelled him into the spotlight.

‘Midnight Modern has been a series of ‘dream come true’ moments for me’ says Tom of this project. The series came about through Tom’s desire to shoot the iconic architecture of Palm Springs in a ‘new’ way. ‘Shooting in a place like that is kind of paralysing, you feel like every angle has been shot a million times’ says Tom. After playing around with some long exposures after dark, Tom realised that shooting by moonlight offered a new perspective.

Tom has been blown away by the response to his striking photographs, both from the online community, the design industry here in Melbourne, and also from the home-owners lucky enough to live in these amazing houses!  He has been particularly overwhelmed by the support of California based Chris Menrad, who is the president of the Palm Springs Modern Committee.

‘Chris’ generosity was boundless’ says Tom. ‘He allowed me to stay in his Butterfly roofed Alexander, the first home I really fell in love with in Palm Springs, and granted me access to all his contacts in the community, and even an aircraft hanger full of his collection of vintage cars. I had to pinch myself everyday, it was beyond a dream come true’.  During Modernism week earlier this year, Chris also hosted a public exhibition of Tom’s photographs in his own home – AMAZING!

Tom is currently working on a book based on his Midnight Modern series, and will be returning to California in July to collect a few more jewels for the series. Excitingly, he has also teamed up with the Robin Boyd Foundation here in Melbourne to start photographing some of Melbourne’s modernist homes by moonlight too.  He is working towards an exhibition at the Walsh st House in South Yarra later this year.  We’ll keep you posted!

Photographs from the ‘Midnight Modern’ series by Tom Blachford are available at Modern Times in Collingwood, or online here.  In California, they are sold exclusively by Flow Modern in Palm Springs.

‘1070 E Apache III (detail), from the ‘Midnight Modern‘ series by Tom Blachford.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email