Darkened Cities is a beautiful photo series by Paris photographer Thierry Cohen that shows major cities from around the world with zero light pollution from within and brightly lit starry skies overhead.
In Thierry Cohen’s series, Darkened Cities, we think we see bright night skies over cities. Very traditional, very poetical. Actually, what we’re seeing is the opposite. These skies are an indictment and a lament. These are the skies that we don’t see. They are also extremely clever photography, in which highly skilled execution provides rich layers of meaning.
The principal operation that has to take place before these pictures can exist is that the sky from one place has to be superimposed upon cityscape from another. The reason is simplicity itself. As every amateur astronomer knows, it is impossible to see this detail in the night sky above a city. Modern lighting provides a level of light pollution so high that looking into the urban sky is like looking past bright headlights while driving. Add to that the atmospheric pollution above any city, and you have a screen only barely penetrable by light. Stand in New York or Rio and look up, even on the most cloudless night, and you won’t see Cohen’s explosions of light. Yet it is there, blotted out only by man’s interference.
images via Thierry Cohen