Grand Central Madison

Day to Night

Stephen Wilkes
View of a hallway with a photo lightbox.
"Day To Night" installation view at LIRR Grand Central Madison. Photo: MTA Arts & Design

About the project

Exploring the temporal and circadian rhythms of daily life, Westport, CT-based artist Stephen Wilkes photographs views from around the world that evoke shared histories and collective memories. In his ongoing series "Day To Night," fleeting moments of time and light are captured through durational photographic processes. Working from a fixed camera angle, he takes up to 1,500 images over the course of a day and then digitally blends these individual moments into a single photograph.

MTA Arts & Design presents a selection of photographs from "Day to Night" featuring New York landmarks, including Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and Washington Square. These iconic sights are rendered anew with the artist’s unique approach, reminding us of New York City’s unique ability to inspire awe and wonderment to residents and tourists alike. 

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Duggal Visual Solutions with installation support by OUTFRONT Media. The photographs will be on view until Spring 2024.

Artist Statement

"Day to Night" is a 14-year personal journey to capture fundamental elements of our world, through the hourglass of a single day.  It’s a synthesis of art & science, exploring time, memory & history through the internal & external circadian rhythms of our daily lives.

I photograph from locations and views that are part of our collective memory. Working from a fixed camera angle, I capture what I see, the fleeting moments of humanity and light as time passes. After photographing as many as 1,500 single images, I select the best moments of the day and night.  Using time as my guide, all of these moments are then seamlessly blended into a single photograph, visualizing our conscious journey with time.

In a world where humanity has become obsessively connected to personal devices, the ability to look is becoming an endangered human experience. Photographing a single place for up to 36 hours becomes a meditation, it has informed me in a unique way, inspiring deep insights into the narrative story of life, and the fragile interaction of humanity within our natural world. 

About the artist

Stephen Wilkes was born in 1957 in New York. He received his BS in photography from Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a minor in business management from the Whitman School of Management in 1980.Wilkes’ extensive awards and honors include the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography, Photographer of the Year from Adweek Magazine, Fine Art Photographer of the Year 2004 Lucie Award, TIME Magazine Top 10 Photographs of 2012, Sony World Photography Professional Award 2012, Adobe Breakthrough Photography Award 2012 and Prix Pictet, Consumption 2014. 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, Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, 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.