What has the advent of digital photography meant in terms of low light and night capture for New York City scene photos?
On the other hand, some contemporary photographers, such as Iannis Delatolas mentioned below , create haunting works by deliberately working with low light levels, recapturing the rich and eerie darkness we associate with pioneers like Steichen and Stieglitz. If you want to see some work that shows the rich color possibilities of non-digital night photography see the website of Barney Kulok whose stunning shots of deserted streets in Queens are a joy to behold.
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Re-envisioning the Nocturnal Sublime: On the Ethics and Aesthetics of Nighttime Lighting
Do you believe their work descends directly from the works you discuss in your book? The short answer is yes. Since I was dealing with a vast topic, I tried to break it down into a group of key metaphors or themes that I saw night photographers as well as nocturnal painters and writers using as a way to characterize the city: as an immoral and dangerous Sin City; as an aesthetic arena, full of formal beauty; as an unclaimed terrain, ripe for colonization; as a realm of sexualized fantasy; and as a stage for voyeurism and violence.
While my book focuses on the century between and , I try to show in an epilogue how these themes continue to feature in the way the city gets depicted even now. Delatolas has done a considerable body of low-light, large format night scenes that many people consider Hopperesque in their low-key drama and emotional fatigue, and they also fit for me with the Pictorialist photographers at the turn of the century because of their strong formal structure and sensitive rendering of the nuances of darkness, which is brought out by a printing process similar to that of the Pictorialists.
My topic is not so much the raw materials of actual life, but what kind of art creative minds made out of New York after dark. How do you see women fitting into these portrayals of the newly lit nightlife? Women have been symbolically associated with the night since time immemorial, partly in fascination, partly in fear. They replace it with a tapestry of light and dark whose patterns weave us into a more harmonious relationship with the urban landscape. One of my favorite contemporary painters is Yvonne Jacquette, whose renowned aerial paintings meticulously detail the city as seen from planes and tall buildings.
“Nocturne,” the Podcast That Explores the Night | The New Yorker
They comprise probably the most extensive—and finest—body of nocturnal paintings since Whistler. I can recall walking the streets at night before the current streetlighting technology was installed. Even the avenues were mostly dark and yes scary stretches, the streetlamps no more than yellow punctuation marks on the backdrop of blackness. As we walked along we would worry about getting safely through the darkness to the next streetlight.
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