Night & Day in a Single Photograph

The photographer’s challenge has always been to convey time’s movement within a still, unmoving image. There are many techniques for achieving this illusion: form, blur, lines, color, etc. CBS News brings us a segment featuring Stephen Wilkes and his collection “Day to Night”, a series of sprawling collage photographs which more closely resemble epic classical paintings than what we’re used to seeing in the world of modern photography:

Meticulously assembled piece-by-piece from thousands of photographs taken over the course of entire days, Wilkes’ creations pan visibly from daytime to nighttime, from one side of the picture to the other. They tell the stories of his New York scenes and everything that happens in a regular day within them, stitched all together, and seen all at once. This video explores the ideas and exhaustive processes behind these masterful works—and the incredible lengths to which he goes to get the perfect perspective.

time lapse photography

 With this kind of work in New York, and now being applied in such cities as Shanghai and Jerusalem, Stephen Wilkes shows us the art that digital technology has made possible. This is an important step in the development of digital photography not as an emulation of a former medium, but as the creation of a medium all its own.

“It is as complex a project as frankly I’ve ever imagined. It’s a challenge, and I love challenges.”

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