Stephen Wilkes is a self-described “relentless collector of magical moments.” In the 12 minute video below, Wilkes tells the story of how he came to do his project, Day to Night, where he compresses a day’s worth of images into one.
Photography can be described as the recording of a single moment, frozen within a fraction of time. Each moment, or photograph, represents a tangible piece of our memories as time passes. But what if you could capture more than one moment in a photograph? What if a photograph could actually collapse time, compressing the best moments of the day and the night, seamlessly into one image?
This is one of the most incredible and powerful videos I’ve seen in a long, long time. Besides being interesting, inspiring, and entertaining, there are many lessons shared about photography and life. My video notes are below.
Einstein described time as a fabric. Think of the surface of a trampoline. It warps and stretches with gravity. I take that fabric and flatten it, compress it into a single plane. I am exploring the space-time continuum within a two-dimensional still photograph.
The fun thing about this work is that I have absolutely zero control when I get up there on any given day and capture photographs.
Day to night is like a compilation of all the things I love about photography. It’s about landscape. It’s about street photography. It’s about colour. It’s about architecture, perspective, scale, and especially, history.
I’ve learned so many extraordinary things doing this work. I think the two most important are: patience and the power of observation.
These photographs begin to put a face on time. They embody a new, metaphysical vision of reality.
When you spend fifteen hours looking at a place, you’re going to see things a little differently than if you or I walked up with a camera, took a picture, and then walked away.
The act of sharing has suddenly become more important than the experience itself.
As technology evolves, along with photography, photographs will not only communicate a deeper meaning of time and memory, but they will compose a new narrative of untold stories, creating a timeless window into our world.
What stood out to you most from this video?