Thursday, September 23, 2010

Art & Culture: New York at Night by Jason Hawkes

You know the skyline. And, a lot of these buildings? You know their shape by heart. Even so, you’ve never seen them like this before, with the twinned effects of distance and darkness offering a softening blur.

New York at Night (Merrell) is not the first coffee-table book to be photographed by British aerial photographer Jason Hawkes. And judging by how well the franchise Hawkes is crafting has been received, I doubt it will be the last. Hawkes is also the author of Britain from Above and London at Night. But what city beyond New York could offer up quite this transformation? With the familiar landmarks here lovingly exploited and seen in a new and entirely different way.

There is an otherworldly perfection to the New York City Hawkes shows us. A sort of science fiction glow. “This is how Jason Hawkes has transformed New York,” writes Christopher Gray in an introduction, “from Hyde to Jekyll, simply by changing his flight plan to the off hours.”

Though there is, of course, more to it than that. Hawkes has specialized in aerial photography since he began his career. He understands the business of shooting from the air so well, he makes it looks... well, as easy as filing a new flight plan. But there really is much more to it than that.

In a concluding chapter, “The Photographer’s Viewpoint,” Hawkes himself shares a bit of what’s involved. He talks about overcoming vibration and stabilizing his cameras; decisions about shutter speeds and how digital photography has altered the way he shoots. Photography aficionados will find much of interest in this section. The rest of us will likely skip this view of the man behind the curtain. There’s so much that is magic in New York at Night. It’s enough to be transformed by Hawkes’ view of the city that really never does sleep.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Photography Education said...

An exciting post - just loved it. I so look forward to returning and reading more of your posts.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 12:14:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Smith said...

Amazing post. Informative & interesting. Best of luck.

Photographers in NJ

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 10:33:00 PM PDT  

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