Tag Archives: Stephen Wilkes

TIME’s Best Photojournalism of 2012

If 2011 was a year of simple, powerful narratives of revolution and sweeping change 2012 was when things got a lot more complicated.

The aftermath of the Arab Springs upheavals saw uneasy transitions toward democracy. backlinks . The exhilaration of freedom dissolved in the face of new struggles and contests for power: in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, the streets are once again filled with protesters angry over the advent of religious radicalism, the return of authoritarianism and the unemployment and tough economic conditions that remain. In Syria, peaceful demonstrations in 2011 morphed into a bitter, bloody civil war that has claimed over 40,000 lives and rages on. Hostilities between Israel and its adversaries in the occupied territories were once more renewed as the peace process collapsed and the road map to a two-state solution looked to have been crumpled up and tossed away. And in the U.S., a seemingly endless, costly election cycle served only to restore the status quo: the re-elected President Obama faces many of the same challenges and obstacles he did before Nov. 6.

Throughout 2012, TIMEs unparalleled photojournalists were there. linkwheel . We stood within the tumult of Tahrir Square and shared moments of quiet with the worlds most powerful President. We documented both the ravages of war on Syrias blasted cities and the devastation nature wrought on our own backyard in the Northeast. At a time when so much hangs in the balance, bearing witness can be the most essential act and thats what we do.

Ishaan Tharoor

Flooded, Uprooted, Burned: The Tracks of Sandy on the Shore

After TIME commissioned me, along with four other photographers, to capture Hurricane Sandy using Instagram, I and many of my colleagues felt a deep personal need to go back and document the aftermath. I’ve covered disasters in other parts of our country, but this is my hometown, and Sandy was a storm of historical significance. I’ve often found that there is great power in telling difficult stories in a beautiful way. Interest in any given story wanes so quickly, yet it’s only through taking the time to go deeper that we get to a place of real understanding. I had to return to this story, and I wanted try to comprehend the scale of this storm. The only way for me to capture Sandy’s destructive fury was from above.

Stephen Wilkes for TIME

Storm surges over power the coastal areas and flood the streets during low tide in Milford, CT.

On the Sunday after Sandy made landfall, I decided to rent a helicopter and fly over some of the most devastated areas, including the New Jersey shore, Breezy Point and Far Rockaway. It was a beautiful day to fly, but unfortunately that beauty quickly eroded into shock as we began to get close to the coasts. It was everything I’d heard about, but it was difficult to believe what I was actually seeing. Once we got above the shoreline, I really started to understand the scale of the destruction. The expanse of land it ruined, the totality of the devastation — it was like a giant mallet had swung in circles around the area. It was mind numbing.

When I got home that night, the images still in my mind made it impossible to sleep. Through various points of this storm, it felt like we were all living through a science fiction movie. Seeing these devastated towns from above showed the cold reality of this storm’s severity.

From above, I realized how close particular neighborhoods were to bays or oceans. Sometimes, it was a matter of two blocks, and it’s a proximity not immediately apparent when you’re on the ground. In Breezy Point, for example, I knew that more than 80 homes had burned down in a fire, but nothing could have prepared me for what I actually saw. The blackened and charred blocks of homes viewed as a giant physical scar across the landscape. Seeing how much land was affected and yet how many homes were saved, made me think of the firefighters and how hard they must have worked just to contain this fire.

In flying over Staten Island, I was really struck by the marina, and how the boats were physically lifted from the pier and tossed together. It looked like a child’s game—huge, 40-ft. boats being thrown around like toys. We then flew over Oakwood, where I saw a house that had been lifted and dragged through a field of cattails; its path clearly visible days later, having left a trail of destruction through the cattails.

Sandy was a warning shot. I’ve had a unique view of what’s happened on a physical level. But the emotional toll has yet to be measured. It’s my hope that these images serve as a wakeup call — whether that call is about global warming, infrastructure, or just the recognition that the world is changing, it’s a reminder that we need to take special care of our fragile world.


Stephen Wilkes is a fine-art and commercial photographer based in New York. Wilkes was awarded the Photo District News Award of Excellence in 2011 and 2012.

Wilkes’ work will be part of Art for Sandy, a fundraising initiative to support Sandy relief that’s being hosted by 20×200 and TIME.



In the Eye of the Storm: Capturing Sandy’s Wrath

As Sandy drew near, TIME asked five photographers — Michael Christopher Brown, Benjamin Lowy, Ed Kashi, Andrew Quilty and Stephen Wilkes — to document the hurricane and its aftermath via Instagram.

Image: Ben Lowy's photograph appears on the cover of the Nov. 12, 2012 issue—the first TIME cover via InstagramWorking from different locations across the Atlantic seaboard, they captured ordinary people getting ready to greet the superstorm. And when Sandy made landfall the night of Oct. 29, they braved rising floodwaters, high winds and driving sheets of rain to photograph the storm’s impact on several communities.

Keep following @TIME on Instagram for the latest photos filed by our photographers, and check back on LightBox for more of our storm coverage throughout the week.

For the latest news on superstorm Sandy, follow TIME’s live coverage.

Stephen Wilkes

Photographer Stephen Wilkes really understands New York City. His amazing day-to-night images, taking a minimum of 10 hours to create from the same perspective, will be on exhibition at the Clamp Art Gallery in New York Ciy from September 8th through October 29th. These large scale, luscious prints take the viewer on a visual journey and create a “definitive view of New York City’s epic scale, along with the humanity and energy which flow through the city’s streets.” Be sure to click on the images to see a larger view.

Times Square, 2010

This is not the first fine art project Stephen has produced about New York. In 1999, he completed a personal project photographing the less attractive south side of Ellis Island and because of the attention this work garnered, Stephen inspired $6 million in funding to be raised towards the restoration of the south side of the island. This photographic project traveled to numerous galleries and museums across the country, culminating with an exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in 2010.

In addition, Stephen has worked for two decades as a commercial photographer receiving numerous awards and recognition. His photographs can be found in a array of magazines including Vanity Fair, Time, Life, and The New York Times Magazine.

Images from Day to Night

Gramery Park, 2011

Coney Island, 2011

Central Park, 2010

Washington Square Park, 2009

Highline, 2009

Park Avenue, 2011

Flatiron, 2011


Stephen Wilkes

Photographer Stephen Wilkes really understands New York City. His amazing day-to-night images, taking a minimum of 10 hours to create from the same perspective, will be on exhibition at the Clamp Art Gallery in New York Ciy from September 8th through October 29th. These large scale, luscious prints take the viewer on a visual journey and create a “definitive view of New York City’s epic scale, along with the humanity and energy which flow through the city’s streets.” Be sure to click on the images to see a larger view.

Times Square, 2010

This is not the first fine art project Stephen has produced about New York. In 1999, he completed a personal project photographing the less attractive south side of Ellis Island and because of the attention this work garnered, Stephen inspired $6 million in funding to be raised towards the restoration of the south side of the island. This photographic project traveled to numerous galleries and museums across the country, culminating with an exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in 2010.

In addition, Stephen has worked for two decades as a commercial photographer receiving numerous awards and recognition. His photographs can be found in a array of magazines including Vanity Fair, Time, Life, and The New York Times Magazine.

Images from Day to Night

Gramery Park, 2011

Coney Island, 2011

Central Park, 2010

Washington Square Park, 2009

Highline, 2009

Park Avenue, 2011

Flatiron, 2011