A Bad Batch
Violet. Lavender. Plum. Magenta. From dumpsters to palm fronds, and churches to back alleys, purple streetlights are creating magical landscapes around Tampa.
I noticed the phenomenon in November 2020 when a church parking lot was flooded with the mysterious purple light. I originally thought it was on purpose, like a safety light. But then I noticed them in more places – peoples’ yards, the sides of busy intersections and in alleys. After some research, I learned that there was a “bad batch” of lights from the manufacturer. Coatings on the lights wear off, revealing the purple light underneath. States like North Carolina and Kansas are also seeing them. Utility companies like TECO Energy are aware of the glitch and will replace the lights once notified. So, I am in a race to find and photograph these ephemeral landscapes before they are "fixed".
The purple lights transform the mundane. The highlights on palm fronds become beautiful abstract forms. Alleyways become mysterious portals to other worlds. White and yellow objects take on a whole new luminescence, the neon purple vibrating off the surfaces. When I find these lights and the surrounding areas they alter, I feel like I have been transported to another dimension. However, these lights are a mistake, a malfunction - their magic, an unintended consequence.