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B&H Photography Podcast

The B&H Photography Podcast, a weekly conversation about all things photography. With insightful and entertaining guests, we discuss the issues most important to the contemporary photographer.

Sep 19, 2019

On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we revisit our conversation with Stephen and Bette Wilkes in honor of the release of Wilkes’s great new book Day to Night, and the accompanying gallery show at the Bryce Wolkowitz gallery, in New York. We also spend a bit of time reflecting on a few of the legendary photographers who have died recently.

The Day to Night series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for ten years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame, are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail; and monumental when considered as a production.

On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes—his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easygoing and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations.

We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the Day to Night series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in New York prior to October 26, 2019, check out the Day to Night exhibit at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes

Photograph © Stephen Wilkes