Varanasi, India, Day to Night
Signed, titled and numbered from edition of 20 on verso.
A self-proclaimed collector of moments Stephen Wilkes, in his series entitled, “Day to Night,” masterfully captures the transition from day to night in one comprehensive image. He began the series in 2009 and has worked diligently to document some of the world’s most beautiful places. Having photographed the Tournelle Bridge in Paris, Stonehenge in England, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and the Serengeti in Africa, Wilkes has created a body of work that appeals to a collective memory. Using a 4×5 large format camera with a digital back and shot from a fixed perspective 40-50 feet above the ground, Wilkes creates images that are designed to emotionally and visually resonate with the masses.
Wilkes’ photographs are visually dynamic, embracing the life of a single location over time. To maintain continuity, his camera has to be completely still as he captures image after image to manifest not just a photograph but an experience for the viewer; constructing a composite picture that only exists in the final photograph. Wilkes, who was influenced by the photomontage work of David Hockney, discovered that by piecing together photographs that were shot over an extended period of time, he could make the passage of time visible in a two dimensional image. Using the tools of digital technology, Wilkes is able to proficiently craft images with the same concept but a different aesthetic. Over the course of 12-15 hours, Wilkes takes 1,200 to 1,500 pictures, narrows them down to about 50 in post-production, and seamlessly blends the different elements over the course of a day, constructing a time vector, drawing a line where day ends and night begins, while simultaneously developing a narrative in the process. His photographs are tangible memories that explore both time and space with the same science and passion that early foundation black and white photography explored movement.
Stephen Wilkes is a uniquely creative artist in contemporary photography. By utilizing the digital resources available today, he has developed a process that has expanded photography’s preconceived notion that a picture can only depict a singular moment in time and has opened up the possibilities of a fourth dimension of time and space.
Art Inquiry: Varanasi, India, Day to Night, Stephen Wilkes
2016, printed 2018
Fuji Crystal Archival Photograph
13.5 x 23 in