I found these photographs of cityscapes solely lit by moon and starlight haunting and eerie but also incredibly beautiful. Thierry Cohen’s Darkened Cities is a way for the viewer to imagine cities without light pollution, and what they would look like under a clear night sky, which is impossible today (aside from a blackout). Cohen has taken two entirely separate photographs, one of the city and one of the night sky, and created two composite images. He says, “By combining two realities, I am making a third that you cannot see… but it exists! I am showing you the missing stars. I am not showing you post-apocalyptic cities, merely cities without electricity. I am bringing back the silence.”
His technique is quite fascinating. During daytime, he captures the urban landscape and then travels to a less populated location on the same latitude and photographs the night sky in that location (which could be thousands of miles away). For example, the skies above Shanghai were actually photographed in Western Sahara and the skies above Paris in Montana.
In this way he creates a whole new perception of each city. “Photography is about poetry more than it is about reality.” I think he achieved that. Check out more photos below, all from Thierry Cohen’s Darkened Cities project.
(photo locations in order: Shanghai, Sydney, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago)