The (New Age) Starry Night: Photographer Thierry Cohen Imagines Urban Night Skies Without Light Pollution

Born in Paris 1963, Thierry Cohen laid the cornerstone of his career in 1985 and is seen as one of the trailblazers of digital photography. His work has been evinced at the Palais de Tokyo and the Musee del”Homme in Paris and in 2008 was an official selection of the Mois de la Photo. The photographer has been nudging his neurons around a single project – Villes Enteintes (Darkened Cities) since 2010. ‘Darkened Cities‘ is an abstraction depicting major cities around the globe as they would appear at night without light pollution or in more poetic terms: How would they look if we could see the stars?

In addition to being original and precise, Cohen’s ideas neatly reminisces the methodologies employed by early 19th century photographers like Gustava Le Grey. He captures those urban settlements which resonate with the idea of his project and tracks the precise time, angle, latitude and longitude of his exposure. Rotation of the earth around its axis dislocates the stars, importing them to the places free of light pollution such as deserts and plains.

By referring to the exact latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track earth’s rotation effectively to the places devoid of photonic adulteration. There he sets up his camera to catch an obsolete ideology in a fancy and modernized manner.

A single image processed by Cohen is an outcome of composition of two pictures altogether. This ensures the resultant image to be resonant as well as exhibit nuance. The work is both, intellectual and spiritual, laying stress over our actions towards this planet and also setting up queer connections between the places which is inordinately fascinating to look out for.

At the same time, it whispers: What do we miss by obscuring the visibility of stars? Through his work, this Parisian photography enthusiast aims to cite, how the disjunction of the rising population from nature sets the passage of physical and physiological harms, free which he infers as fatal for the mankind. Cohen’s vision and his photographs is an attempt to propel human instincts for the security of its dwelling in form of a still yet moving digital prints. You can view more of his works here.

Here we have for you an assembly of few startling shots. Which one is your favourite?

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San Francisco

 Image Courtesy:  Danziger Gallery


 Image Courtesy: Art Chipel

São Paulo


Rio de Janeiro




Los Angeles

 Images Courtesy: Bloody Loud
Featured Image Coutesy: Thierry Cohen

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