Stephen Wilkes, represented at AIPAD by the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica creates his signature images by melding together 1,000 to 1,400 individual images taken in a span of 24 hours. The result is time and space woven into a single fluid element, with familiar landmarks coming drawing you in once again, demanding to be reconsidered in this new interpretation. Wilkes first got the idea of capturing time while working with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes for the “Romeo & Juliet” magazine spread. Since then he’s photographed the passage of time at many iconic New York landmarks including Coney Island, Central Park, Times Square, and others.
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Video Interview transcript:
Stephen Wilkes: We are at AIPAD, and I am sharing with you some thoughts about my latest ‘Day to Night’ image. It’s called ‘Bethesda Fountain’. I spent the last couple of months finishing this image, it is very exciting as this is the first time I’m actually showing it. This photograph was taken during the fall, at the peak of autumn, in Central Park, and I was in a cherry-picker, floating about 50 feet above Central Park. It was a fantastic experience. The unique experience that I am interested in, is capturing an aspect of New York that everybody has in their memories – the iconic image of what New York is, but I want to show it to you in a way that you have never seen it before.
I like to capture all these unique singular moments in a day, and then put them all together into one photograph. To have it feel – in a sense – fluid, is a very exciting thing.
One of the fun aspects of this photograph was that, as I was shooting, I started noticing brides. These brides kept coming into the park, and it was interesting because every photographer coming in with them was choosing a different corner, a different spot to take a photograph, so, this photograph has become my ‘Where’s Waldo’ of brides. This scene, architecturally, is so symmetrical. The entire image had to work on a very symmetrical level, and that was a challenge, in terms of how the day begins and the night ends, and how that whole thing integrates. I was incredibly fortunate and lucky to have these moments happen when they did. When I started to put the image together, I realized I really had something exciting.
Several of these images have that hidden narrative when you spend time on them. What I look for when I look at art, is discovery. Every time when I look at something, whether it is a painting or a sculpture, I want to feel something new, that I hadn’t felt before when I looked at it. I hope that my work does that for people, that you discover something every time you look at my photographs.
Video interview and transcript © galleryIntell. Images courtesy Stephen Wilkes and Peter Fetterman Gallery. Artwork © Stephen Wilkes