Liam Wong
After Dark

An evocative, cinematic exploration of global cities after midnight

  • Funding ended
  • 3606 backers
  • $282,510.00 of $52,715.60 pledged
Funded 535%
  • Funding ended
  • 3606 backers
  • $282,510.00 of $52,715.60 pledged
Funded 535%

Overview

No matter how different or far apart, cities at night share particular features: neon lights and lonely figures, quiet train stations and taxi drivers, empty buildings and streets. Quietness falls, the urban pulse slows, rain gathers in silvery pools undisturbed by traffic. In After Dark, Liam Wong encounters the people and places, the slivers of life, that move differently in this time, weaving these fine dark threads into an insomniac’s journey of night.

Following his début monograph, TO:KY:OO, which captured Tokyo’s beauty at night, Wong widens his lens from the city that became his spiritual and photographic muse to Osaka and Kyoto, London and Seoul, Paris and Rome. But he goes still further, seeking the rich tapestries of nightlife in the foggy historical streets of his hometown Edinburgh, penetrating the backstreets of the megacity Chongqing, and seizing the verticality of Hong Kong from its rooftops.

Through his previous work as a videogame designer, Wong learned that ‘real life is just as potent, bizarre and interesting as things we can imagine.’ Through sleepless and solitary nights, After Dark explores the phenomenon of loneliness in city life, capturing urban interstices between dusk and dawn: the eerie emptiness of London’s Piccadilly Circus at 4:00 am, Seoul’s late-night taxi drivers moving along hushed roads, two birds sharing the warmth of neon sign in Hong Kong’s TSM District, a salaryman waiting on an empty subway platform in Tokyo’s Akihabara district in front of the world‘s largest electronic store  – mysterious silhouettes representing lives lived in shadow, portrayed as intricate cinematic visions, all before the sun rises.

Genre

Photography

Designer

Darren Wall

Custom typography

Toshi Omagari

Specification

315 x 220 mm landscape
176 pages
Hardcover with Swiss binding
Printing in five colors
Two paper stocks

This campaign is now closed and After Dark is in production. For those who missed out, pre-orders will open soon for a limited period. Sign up to our newsletter for launch notification →

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Rewards

Book

• Your name in the book
• Edition exclusive to Volume
• Behind-the-scenes updates

Signed Book

• Signed by Liam Wong
• Your name in the book
• Edition exclusive to Volume
• Behind-the-scenes updates

Collector’s Edition

• Unique noir archival case
• Signed by Liam Wong
• Edition exclusive to Volume
• Your name in the book
• Behind-the-scenes updates

Collector’s Edition + Print

• Includes signed ‘Hong Kong Mansions’ print
• Unique noir archival case
• Signed by Liam Wong
• Edition exclusive to Volume
• Your name in the book
• Behind-the-scenes updates

Book Early Bird

• Your name in the book
• Edition exclusive to Volume
• Behind-the-scenes updates

Funding successful. This project closed on Saturday, October 9 2021 6:00 pm UTC +00:00.

All pledges will be refunded in full if the funding goal is not met within the allotted time.

 

The Book

After Dark is a singular photographic publication, an intimate, one-of-a-kind experience that documents Wong’s nocturnal journeys through the world’s most captivating cities. From Hong Kong and Seoul to London and Edinburgh, Wong has created a series of images revealing urban life through the eyes of the insomniac artist.

From the dimensions of the photographs, which are framed to film ratios – 2.39:1, 1.85:1, 16:9 and 4:3 – to the panoramic format and the specially commissioned Chinese characters, from the Swiss binding to a special production process that captures neon lights and shadows within shadows – the book is a desirable and collectible object in its own right.

Wong’s pictures draw on his work as a videogame designer, creating an off-world vision of the city.

BBC News

After Dark makes use of Swiss binding, in which the book-block is bound with fabric tape and affixed to the backboard of the book case.

The Collector’s Edition

Cased in a custom box with a magnetic fastening and adorned with a unique sans serif version of the book’s custom logotype stamped in metallic red foil, the special edition of After Dark takes subtle design cues from classic anime video packaging.

Lining the case, and the book itself, is a panoramic image, printed in ultra-bright inks that use Chroma Centric technology, which allows colours to be printed beyond the typical gamut of lithographic printing techniques. In addition, a signed print of ‘Hong Kong Mansions’ is included for those wishing to bring a piece of Wong’s vision to their homes or private space.

Wong’s grasp of story illustrated as a ‘place to be’ is remarkable.

Syd Mead, visual futurist

Positively cinematic…Liam Wong captures something distinct yet strangely imperceptible: the essence of a romantic sci-fi capital that always feels out of this world.

Elephant

Anamorphic in print

Liam Wong uses a cinematic framing technique to create some of his most striking and absorbing photographic studies. The book’s landscape format makes the most of this technique, evoking Asian scrolls and allowing images to be shown in highly elongated spreads that best reflect Wong’s painterly approach to image-making.

Liam’s ‘photos’ are not just photos. In his ‘photos,’ you can feel what cannot be normally seen.

Hideo Kojima, game creator

 

Under neon loneliness

For centuries, artists have found both solace and fruitfulness in solitude. A quiet space for the imagination emerges when one cannot fall to sleep, or when one chooses to stay awake. Cities at night offer not only the experience of loneliness, but also a view of it – a solitary window illuminated in a block of flats, the false warmth in the window display of a closed shop. Being alone is something, perhaps, we both fear and crave – the silence of a place that is usually full of life can seem both morbid and precious and this is reflected in the eery romance of Wong‘s After Dark series.

Typography in motion

The bespoke typography for After Dark was designed by Toshi Omagari, an award-winning type designer formerly of Monotype. Under Wong’s direction, Omagari took inspiration from the lettering used in the films of celebrated Chinese director Wong Kar Wai. The very first sketches referenced the typeface used in the opening title of As Tears Go By (1988); a sans-serif style (in Chinese, heiti), slanted vertically, displayed in red on black with a small subtitle in English. The subsequent round of designs drew inspiration from the serif style (songti) seen in In The Mood For Love (2000).

The delicate contrast of thick and thin strokes in the serif style called for something more nuanced, so Omagari created a variable font especially for the book, which allows the precise weight of each character to be customized according to its use in the book.

One of the inspirations for the cover lettering was the poster and opening title letterings of Wong Kar Wai’s films. They are condensed and stylized to varying degrees, and fit the romantic and perhaps nostalgic tone of Wong’s visuals.

Toshi Omagari, typographer

Meet the author

Liam Wong is an award-winning freelance art director. Graphic designer, former game developer and now photographer, he is best known for defining, designing and directing visual identities and has been listed as one of Forbes magazine’s influential 30 under 30.

Funding now closed!

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Dear After Dark backer,

As the fundraising campaign has finished, we want to thank you for backing this amazing project and for helping set a new record for Volume by funding 535% of our initial target.

Over the next coming months, you can expect to receive content from Liam and behind-the-scenes production updates posted here. We can’t wait to start making this beautiful book and share it’s journey with you.

Beth Siveyer
Community Manager
Volume

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