Capturing Time: Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night Series


Capturing Time: Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night Series

In the realm of contemporary photography, few artists have managed to transcend the boundaries of time and perception quite like Stephen Wilkes. With his groundbreaking “Day to Night” series, Wilkes has crafted a visual journey that offers viewers a unique perspective on the passage of time and the intricate beauty of our world. This remarkable series blends artistry, technique, and storytelling to create mesmerizing images that captivate the imagination and challenge our understanding of reality.

stephen wilkes day to Night, Capturing Time: Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night Series

“October of 2014 I decided I wanted to go to Tanzania, Africa during the migration for my next Day to Night. I had no idea of the incredible challenge that lay ahead of me. To find the perfect location would be difficult. How would I capture the changing of time with wild animals instead of my usual focus on a more human element? Photographing people is predictable, we’re likeminded, creatures of habit. In capturing the varied species of the Serengeti, I knew I’d be relying more heavily than I’d like to on luck. This became even more evident when I arrived to learn Tanzania was in the midst of a five-week dry spell, meaning the migration patterns were even more unpredictable than usual. After weeks of scouting, I discovered a massive watering hole which I decided on for the final location of the image. I would remain with my assistants hidden in a crocodile blind 18 feet above the ground for 30 consecutive hours, capturing these incredible species coming together to share this one sacred resource, water.”

A Glimpse into the Day to Night Series

Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night series is a collection of photographs that masterfully merge fleeting moments from daybreak to nightfall into a single frame. Each image encapsulates the essence of a location over the course of 24 to 30 hours, capturing the ebb and flow of life, light, and shadows. The result is a visual symphony that showcases iconic landmarks and bustling cityscapes in an entirely new light.

The process behind these images is as intricate as the scenes they depict. Wilkes spends hours observing his chosen locations, capturing thousands of photographs from a single vantage point. These photos are then meticulously curated and blended together in post-production, with each element meticulously placed to create a seamless transition from day to night. The result is a single, unified image that takes viewers on a journey through the passage of time.

stephen wilkes day to Night, Capturing Time: Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night Series

Storytelling through Photography

What sets the Day to Night series apart is its ability to tell compelling stories through imagery. Wilkes’ photographs are not just snapshots of time; they are narratives frozen in a single frame. The series encourages viewers to contemplate the passing hours, the activities that transpire, and the emotions that evolve as the world transforms from dawn’s first light to the twinkle of the night sky.

Take, for instance, the bustling streets of New York City captured in one of Wilkes’ iconic images. The photograph captures the sun casting long shadows as pedestrians rush about their daily routines. As the day progresses and the city’s energy evolves, the lights come alive, painting a vivid picture of the nightlife that emerges as the sun sets. This narrative approach to photography invites viewers to immerse themselves in the image, prompting them to ponder the stories unfolding within its borders.


stephen wilkes day to Night, Capturing Time: Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night Series

“I had always wanted to photograph the Western Wall. It represents 3 of the worlds most popular religions. I spent months studying every aspect of the Western Wall, looking at countless images and after seeing photographs when the wall has almost 100,000 people praying, I decided immediately that this was the foreground narrative I wanted for this photograph. I created this image on the holiday of the Priestly Blessings, or “birkat kohanim” during the Sukkot holiday in October 2012. It took 3 months to find and secure this location. I photographed for 18 hours and shot over 1800 images. The weather had been very hazy and hot and I was worried I wouldn’t get a clear sky. I had great luck and had a beautiful sunrise and sunset. This photograph is an emotional image and my hope is that it resonates with all religions.”

Challenges and Rewards

Creating the Day to Night series presents a unique set of challenges. Wilkes must not only contend with changing light conditions and the logistics of capturing thousands of images, but also with the ever-present unpredictability of weather and human activity. Yet, it is these challenges that contribute to the series’ authenticity and dynamism. Each photograph becomes a testament to Wilkes’ dedication to his craft and his determination to capture the essence of a place in its entirety.

The rewards, however, are immeasurable. Through the Day to Night series, Wilkes has provided viewers with a fresh perspective on familiar landscapes. His work sparks a sense of wonder, prompting us to see our world through new eyes and appreciate the intricate dance of time and light that surrounds us daily.


stephen wilkes day to Night, Capturing Time: Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night Series

Legacy and Impact

Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night series has left an indelible mark on the world of photography and art. His innovative approach to capturing time has inspired countless artists to experiment with new ways of storytelling through imagery. The series stands as a testament to the power of human creativity and the boundless possibilities of merging art and technology.

In an era where time often appears to move at an accelerated pace, the Day to Night series serves as a reminder to pause and appreciate the beauty that exists in the quiet moments of transition. Stephen Wilkes’ work encourages us to look beyond the surface and embrace the deeper narratives that shape our world, inviting us to contemplate the stories that unfold between sunrise and sunset.

For more information on the complete series inquire at info@guyhepner.comcreate new email