Darkened Cities by Thierry Cohen
Darkened Cities is a nightscapes series by photographer Thierry Cohen showing the most celebrated cities in the world in a different way; The view of the skies above that are usually blocked by city lights and atmospheric pollution.
The message conveyed by the series is quite clear; the eerie looking nightscapes are showing what we don’t see anymore. For centuries the stars have guided humans, whether explorers and navigators through the study of our complex universe, or more artistically poets, painters, musicians and photographers. But now when we look up at the sky from one of these grand cities that Cohen photographs, city lights and atmospheric pollution block the view of the skies and stars above.
The night calls to us and we feel deeply moved by the stars and their trajectory across the sky. Wishes are made on them, sometimes we say our destiny is written in them, songs penned about them, and yes, of course, we dream of catching one or travelling on one. We look to the stars for guidance and inspiration.
In order too create the photographs, Thierry Cohen needed a very detailed study involving astronomy, travel and the skill of a digital master. He travels to places free of light pollution located on the same latitude as the cityscapes and uses them as a starting material for his photos. The camera is pointed at the same angle, he photographs the skies which are the same above the city, but a few hours earlier or later. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers.
Thierry Cohen was born in Paris in 1963. He began his professional career in 1985 and is seen as one of the pioneers of digital photography. His work has been shown at the Palais de Tokyo, and the Musee de l”Homme in Paris, and in 2008 was an official selection of the Mois de la Photo. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to a single project – “Villes Eteintes” (Darkened Cities) – which depicts the major cities of the world as they would appear at night without light pollution, or in more poetic terms: how they would look if we could see the stars.
Photos courtesy of © Thierry Cohen