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East Wing presents “Darkened Cities” by French photographer, Thierry Cohen. At first glance, these images seem to be of fantastic nightscapes taken from some of the most celebrated cities in the world. They are that, but much more, both a poetic exploration by Cohen and a message about these cities and how their  light and atmospheric pollution blocks the view of the skies above. 

For centuries the stars have guided human existence, whether explored through the study of our complex universe, or more artistically in poetry, painting, music and most definitely in photography. If we look up at the sky from one of these grand cities that Cohen photographs, we would never see it as he shows it to us. His process is a highly detailed study, involving a mix of astronomy, travel and the skill of a digital master. Cohen doesn’t photograph just any sky. Instead he travels to places free of light pollution, but located on the same latitude as the cityscapes he uses as foundation for his images. Assuring that his 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.

Within the urban landscapes of “Darkened Cities” also lies the powerful message that a ‘city that never sleeps’ is also a city removed from natural beauty and the stars that we cherish so.  Since 2010, Thierry Cohen has travelled from megacities to deserts, giving the stars back to his viewers but also attempting to help raise public awareness about the destructive nature of light and atmospheric pollution.

Thierry Cohen (French b.1963) has been a professional photographer since 1985 and from the end of the 80s on, he has been recognised as a pioneer in the use of digital techniques. His photographs are exhibited internationally and his works are held in both public and private collections. He lives and works in Paris.