We have all heard of light pollution, but are we urban dwellers aware of just how much artificial light affects our view of the night sky? A new photography exhibition called Darkened Cities is now on display at East Wing gallery in Dubai, and its creator Thierry Cohen wants to show us what we are missing.
Darkened Cities features a series of Photographic Nightscapes created by Thierry Cohen to show what major cities would look like if they were plunged into darkness. His nightscapes illustrate how the skies above our cities would appear without artificial light and show the billions of stars, comets and galaxies that are rendered invisible by light pollution in megacities. To create his artworks, Cohen uses night sky photographs taken at the same latitude as each megacity but in more remote location where the stars are visible. These starry sky photos are then combined with architectural renderings of cities without the lights turned on, creating dramatic images.
Thierry has been travelling around mega cities since 2010 collecting his images for the Darkened Cities exhibition. Whilst on his travels he has made it his mission to raise public awareness about the destructive nature of light pollution much like the “International Dark Sky Association” is doing globally. The images created are not fanciful dreamscapes but remind us of real moments such as the blackouts in New York caused by Hurricane Sandy, which gave people a glimpse of what is usually obscured by light and smog. These real moments are represented so artistically by Cohen to remind us what we are missing right above our heads.
East Gallery states, that “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.” The East Wing gallery founded in 2012 in Qatar and its new exhibition space in Dubai is a cutting edge photographic gallery that aims to “open up new dialogues in photography, with a keen eye on innovative artistic practice.” It has certainly done that with Darkened Cities. Cohen joins a long line of artists who have changed the way we view city life, such as Andy Warhol, L.S Lowry and Edward Hopper. What Cohen does so well is illustrate what we cannot see. He enlightens us even as he plunges our cities into darkness.
Via Green Prophet
+ Thierry Cohen
+ East Wing Gallery
All images via East Wing