Thierry Cohen

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

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.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  2. photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
    Life

    What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

    The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

  3. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

  4. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

  5. Design

    How Berlin's Mietskaserne Tenements Became Coveted Urban Housing

    Why do mid-rise tenements dominate Berlin? The Mietskaserne, or “rental barracks,” have shaped the city’s culture and its counterculture.

×