Annandale, New Jersey
“3am Black Horse Diner”
First Place – Magazine/Editorial
“It was shot around 3am on a brutally cold night in a town outside of Philadelphia. I’d already been to a couple of other places that night that didn’t work out. Here, the stars aligned and everything came together very quickly.”
ASMP: Can you provide some background on your winning photo?
Peter Murphy: The photo was part of a story on places that are open 24 hours. Sort of an insomniac’s guide to New Jersey.
It was shot around 3am on a brutally cold night in a town outside of Philadelphia. I’d already been to a couple of other places that night that didn’t work out. Here, the stars aligned and everything came together very quickly. The interior is lit and the exterior is available light. Apart from cleaning up dirt on the window, I haven’t really done much to it in post. I’ve been asked if it was composited, but no, that’s the way it was shot.
ASMP: What was your inspiration for taking this photo?
PM: My inspiration usually comes from the subjects themselves and their environments. Typically I’ll go into a shoot with at least one idea, but that’s just insurance in case I’m only given two minutes with the subject, the location is terrible, or something goes wrong. It’s important to know content and tone of the story but at the same time not taking it literally.
ASMP: What type of setting inspires you the most?
PM: My favorite subjects are probably the same as everyone else’s – people doing wonderful things in beautiful light.
ASMP: Was there anything unique about the type of lighting you used for this image or series?
PM: There isn’t anything totally unique about my lighting. Generally it’s mixed available light and strobe. Sometimes I use continuous light sources. Depends on the situation. I make some of my own modifiers.
ASMP: What other photographers’ or artists’ work inspires you?
PM: Inspired by countless other photographers and painters and writers. The most significant influences on my work have been Jay Maisel and Michael O’Neill – both of whom I used to assist. I learned to light from Michael and I learned how to see from Jay.
ASMP: What do you find most valuable about your membership?
PM: When I was an assistant, nearly everybody I worked with was a member of ASMP. Seemed like it was just part of taking your job seriously, and I joined early in my career. The business and creative events are great – and they’re opportunities to see fellow working photographers.
ASMP: What kind of gear do you use?
PM: Using Nikon for digital, Mamiya for film (rare but still happens). Dynalite for lighting.