One photographer, three series. They’re all different from each other. We first found the ‘Day to Night’ series by Stephen Wilkes. But in our investigation we also found his other work, and we loved it. Why stick to just the one series by the artist, we thought? We do that all the time already, so let’s do it differently this time. We might learn something…
To Stephen, the creative process is very very important. Trying to achieve freedom, it helps to be well prepared if you want to be free and let new things just happen. Doing things different is normal for Stephen. It’s part of growing which is important. It’s important to keep the mindset of growth. How does Stephen keep this mindset? 1. Passion! 2. Always embrace change. 3. Always be willing to take risks. 4. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. 5. Don’t believe in failure, believe in experience.
Great, so how does this translate to his photos, and his colors? There’s always color in passionate people. And Stephen Wilkes is passionate about light. Light is a narrative to relay feeling. ‘Are you feeling what I am feeling as you look at the photo?’ Stephen wonders. Light and colors are essential for Stephen as they are the apparel of unique narratives. Each image can only tell its story through the light and colors they send to you. As you’ll see in each series, in each narrative, the story is different each time. If you look closely, you’ll see the five rules of keeping a growth mindset in his photo’s.
Ellis Island. There’s an old psychiatric hospital on the island. That hospital was like ‘a nirvana of color’ Stephen explains. The colors in the rooms we’re originally selected for its effects on the psyche. The lead paint (now banned) on the walls left a depth of color he had never seen before. The light entering the building was special as it’s on an island, surrounded by water reflecting light. There’s no photoshopping here, it’s just the camera capturing the light.
China Factories. Factories are often monochromatic. The outsides are especially dull. People in the factories, the individuals, add color them. The factories themselves are cold. Even if there’s color in a photo, you can sense a chill in these photos that you don’t see in Ellis Island, which is a much warmer place. The visual look mirrors the emotions Stephan feels or the narrative he tells and that he attempts to capture in an image.
Day To Night. An in-depth study of a place over time, a place in transition. For all his works he likes to spend time at the location. Eventually the location reveals itself to Stephen. Day To Night is like a sundial capturing a day in the life of New York City. In these photos, your brain needs to adjust to seeing day and night in one image. It wants to see the city, its buildings or trees in one color for each object. But they’re not because an object has a different at night that it does at night. And that’s a challenge for the brain. And it is that challenge that helps you grow.