By blending up to 100 still photographs into a seamless composite that captures the transition from day to night, Stephen Wilkes reveals the stories hidden in familiar locations.

Why you should listen

Since opening his studio in New York City in 1983, photographer Stephen Wilkes has built an unprecedented body of work and a reputation as one of America's most iconic photographers, widely recognized for his fine art, editorial and commercial work.

His photographs are included in the collections of the George Eastman Museum, James A. Michener Art Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Dow Jones Collection, Griffin Museum of Photography, Jewish Museum of NY, Library of Congress, Snite Museum of Art, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Museum of the City of New York, 9/11 Memorial Museum and numerous private collections. His editorial work has appeared in, and on the covers of, leading publications such as the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, TIME, Fortune, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and many others.

In 1998, a one-day assignment to the south side of Ellis Island led to a 5-year photographic study of the island's long abandoned medical wards where immigrants were detained before they could enter America. Through his photographs and video, Wilkes helped secure $6 million toward the restoration of the south side of the island.

Day to Night, Wilkes' most defining project, began in 2009. These epic cityscapes and landscapes, portrayed from a fixed camera angle for up to 30 hours capture fleeting moments of humanity as light passes in front of his lens over the course of full day. Blending these images into a single photograph takes months to complete. Day to Night has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning as well as dozens of other prominent media outlets and, with a grant from the National Geographic Society, was recently extended to include America's National Parks in celebration of their centennial anniversary. The series will be published by TASCHEN as a monograph in 2017.

Wilkes, who lives and maintains his studio in Westport, CT, is represented by Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York; Peter Fetterman Gallery, Los Angeles; Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe; and ARTITLEDContemporary, The Netherlands.

What others say

“The very idea of a photograph is that it captures a single moment. One click of the shutter renders the briefest sliver of time permanent. Everything before and everything after might as well not have happened at all. Stephen Wilkes is not about that single moment, not exactly. He is, rather, a collector of moments, staking out a location until he has hoovered up enough of them to tell the story of a single place. The reality is altogether more ordinary and yet somehow more striking: day and night -- together. These are not the briefest of moments. They are many moments, as many as possible, collapsed and fused into one.” — Josh Sanburn, TIME Magazine

Stephen Wilkes’ TED talk

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