Christopher Burkins: Night Court

I took this photograph while walking around the town of Bel Air, Maryland at night. I usually prefer to shoot during daylight, but sometime I shoot at night for a change of pace. I went for a walk around the town and photographed the front of the historic court house building. After looking at the photo in postproduction, I thought it looked better in black and white. I also added a stock canvas from the royalty-free site Pexels to give it a more eerie feel. I used photoshop to superimpose the canvas over the photograph, added a layer mask, and used the brush to give it the appearance it has. With the exception of this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, there are usually ghost tours of the town and this court house is one of the stops. Give that it is an historic building, it would not surprise me if there are ghost stories associated with it.

I got the name “Night Court” from a sitcom that aired on NBC from 1984 to 1992 with the same name. The sitcom takes place in a court room during the night shift of a Manhattan municipal court. Since the building in this photograph is a courthouse and it was taken at night, I thought “Night Court” would make a good title. I have never seen any full length episodes of the series, but I have seen a clip of an episode on YouTube in which Brent Spiner (Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation) was a guest star. At first I had trouble thinking of a name for this photograph, but I settled on “Night Court” after watching a video of Brent Spiner speaking at a convention about his time on the sitcom “Night Court.”

Shortly before I took this photograph, I was having a panic attack. I do not remember why I was having a panic attack, but given everything happening as of writing this, it might have been pandemic related. I was also feeling depressed because I really miss my job working after-school enrichment, which I was doing before the pandemic and loved it. After several years of lacking direction and being uncertain about what I wanted to do, I found a job in an after-school enrichment program with the YMCA. Before that I volunteered at a summer camp and I worked in various retail establishments. The YMCA job was different because it was the first job I had where I felt like I was doing something important and my work was respected. It also helped me settle on a career path. I decided to temporarily leave that line of work because of the pandemic and my studies (thought I hope to be back soon), but there are days when I would give anything to be back there. In order to ease my mind, I decided to go out and work on night photography even though it is not something I normally do.





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