If you were to stand in one spot at an iconic location for 30 hours and simply observe, never closing your eyes, you still wouldn’t be able to take in all the detail and emotion found in a Stephen Wilkes panoramic photograph. Not only does Wilkes shoot over 1,500 exposures from a fixed angle, he also distills this visual information afterward in his studio, painstakingly composing selected frames into a single image.
“Photography can be described as the recording of a single moment frozen within a fraction of time,” says Stephen Wilkes. “But what if you could capture more than one moment in a photograph? What if a photograph could actually collapse time, compressing the best moments of the day and the night seamlessly into one single image?” Well, that’s what Wilkes has done, with a series of images he calls “Day to Night.” It is, he says, his version of street photography, only this sees him shooting the same spot for 15 to 30 hours, before heading back to the studio to choose the best moments of the day and night and melding them into one image. It’s complicated, time-consuming — and the results are absolutely stunning. Take a look.
Day to Night presents 60 epic panoramas created between 2009 and 2018, shot everywhere from Africa’s Serengeti to the Champs-Élysées in Paris, from the Grand Canyon to Coney Island, from Trafalgar Square to Red Square. Each composition is a labor of love as well as patience. Wilkes waited more than two years to gain permission to photograph Pope Francis celebrating Easter mass in the Vatican, ultimately producing a vivid tableau in which the pontiff appears 10 times.
The book also features extraordinary details―works of art in their own right that highlight the stories contained within each image. A bride makes her way through Central Park; in Tanzania, zebras gather around a near-invisible watering hole during a drought; in Rio de Janeiro, surfers come and go while a man holds a sign reading “No more than two questions per customer.” “It is exactly these small stories, these details, that draw people into the photographs,” says Wilkes. Once discovered, these mini narratives lend each composition a personal, candid feel.
This collection takes us on a seamless trip from dawn to dark across the world’s most iconic locations, unveiling the unique ebb and flow of man-made and natural landmarks like never before.
You should also visit his page dedicated to Day to Night.
Author: Stephen Wikes & Lyle Rexer
Hardcover with two fold-outs, 42 x 33 cm, 260 pages
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German