July 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

What the Night Sky Would Look Like if Cities Went Dark

by twistedsifter


Thierry Cohen began his professional career in 1985 and is seen as one of the pioneers of digital photography. Cohen currently lives and works in Paris. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to a single project – Villes Enteintes” (Darkened Cities) – which depicts the major cities of the world as they would appear at night without light pollution, or how they would look if we could see the stars.

According to the Danziger Gallery, which represents Cohen in the United States:

Cohen’s method is original and precise…he photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure. As the world rotates around its axis the stars that would have been visible above a particular city move to deserts, plains, and other places free of light pollution.By noting the precise latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track the earth’s rotation to places of atmospheric clarity like the Mojave, the Sahara, and the Atacama desert. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers.
Compositing the two images, Cohen creates a single new image full of resonance and nuance. The work is both political and spiritual questioning not only what we are doing to the planet but drawing unexpected connections between disparate locations. Equally importantly it asks: what do we miss by obscuring the visibility of stars? As the world’s population becomes increasingly urban, there is a disjunction with the natural world which both Cohen and science posit causes both physical and psychological harm. Cities that never sleep are made up of millions of individuals breaking natural cycles of work and repose. Cohen’s photographs attempt to restore our vision, and in beautifully crafted prints and images offer the viewer a possibility – to re-connect us to the infinite energy of the stars.


Thierry Cohen is represented by Galerie Esther Woerdehoff in Europe and the Danziger Gallery in the United States. You can find more from the Darkened CitIES series on his official website along with other projects.




1. Shanghai

Shanghai darkened cities by thierry cohen



2. Rio de Janeiro

Rio_darkened cities by thierry cohen



3. San Francisco

San_Francisco_darkened cities by thierry cohen



4. Paris

Paris_darkened cities by thierry cohen



5. Tokyo

Tokyo darkened cities by thierry cohen



6. Shanghai

Shanghai_darkened cities by thierry cohen



7. Sao Paulo

Sao_Paulo_darkened cities by thierry cohen



8. New York

New_York_darkened cities by thierry cohen



9. Los Angeles

Los_Angeles_darkened cities by thierry cohen



10. Hong Kong

Hong_Kong_darkened cities by thierry cohen





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