Photos

What City Skies Would Look Like Without Light Pollution

In this haunting series, Thierry Cohen rids urban areas of their electric lights to reveal luminous celestial vistas.

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Thierry Cohen

Cities have got a lot of things going for them, but starry skies are not one of them. All those lights and the pollution they bring with them tarnish the star-studded nights the less populous parts of the world enjoy.

Photographer Thierry Cohen solves the problem, sorta, in his "Darkened Cities" photo series. His solution—to rid cityscapes of their electric lights and reintroduce the celestial vistas hidden away under the thick veil of pollutants–is a bit excessive, but the results are dazzling.

Cohen crisscrossed the globe in pursuit of his project. His itinerary matched large metropolises like Hong Kong and New York, with more deserted spots, like the Mojave and the Amazon, according to their latitudinal alignment. He photographed the cities by day to capture the silhouette of their skylines, then darkened them in post-production. He then dropped in the more vibrant skies he found in places like the Western Sahara behind blacked-out skyscrapers. The result is strange, to say the least, but beautiful, especially in those images depicting coastline cities, where supernovas and star clusters are reflected in the harbors below.

All images courtesy of Thierry Cohen.

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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