Photographs of New York by two French contemporary artists

21 May 2020

New York is amongst the most important and most visited cities in the world, its imposing architecture never ceases to inspire creatives and artists with an electrifying atmosphere and diverse population. ‘The Big Apple’ symbol of the American dream, where everything is possible and any opportunity is open to those who know how to seize it. Many artists have fallen under the metropolis’s spell. In this article, we the discover the different artistic perspectives of New York by two photographers.

Xavier Dumoulin and the New York ‘dream’

In these photos of New York, Xavier Dumoulin theme explores man’s effect on nature, often harmful and dangerous. The photographer addresses both natural and urban environmental issues. In 2017/2018, he chose New York for the quintessential urban context of the new series. During his visit to the metropolis and facing the impressive skyscraper forest, he was overcome by an ambiguous feeling, between fascination and dread.

New York Dream 22, Xavier Dumoulin

In order to visually convey the feeling of passive astonishment, the artist decided to take the photos of New York using camera shake: these shaky images exacerbate the height and perspective of the imposing architecture. This depiction of New York evokes a dream (or a nightmare?), an impression, a sensation or a memory rather than reality. In the photos of New York taken at dusk, the light pollution from the buildings gives an aesthetic connection to the abstract; the city and its symbols are then taken apart, even almost destroyed. Find Xavier Dumoulin interview on the ‘New York Dream’ series here.

More about the artist

Further to his ‘New York Dream’ series, you can find more photographic series by the artist on Artistics, in particular ‘Incandescences’ and his admirable work with artificial light in natural landscapes. Xavier Dumoulin has been celebrated for his photographic work throughout his career with several awards.

Christophe Jacrot and the vulnerability of New York

Christophe Jacrot specializes in both natural and urban landscape photography. He focuses mainly on landscapes in bad weather, snow or rain. In his series of New York photos ‘New York in White’, the dark colours of the night contrast with the white snowstorm hitting the city. What fascinates him the most, is the way in which natural displays (in this case, a snowstorm) seem to question the power and the outward invulnerability of New York.

Winter at my window, Christophe Jacrot

With the ‘New York in Black’ series, Christophe Jacrot gives us a unique and really rare view of the city thanks to his New York photos. Following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, part of ‘the city that never sleeps’ was plunged into total darkness for a few days following a power outage. The vision of the deserted and ghostly streets deeply touched the French contemporary artist, bringing back photographs with an unreal, somewhat disturbing atmosphere.

5th avenue, Christophe Jacrot

More about the artist

Christophe Jacrot has also taken images of landscapes shaped by bad weather such as snow in the ‘Snjor’ series or by rain in the ‘Hong Kong and Asia in the Rain’ series. His images have been published several times in different books and also exhibited in numerous galleries around the world. Find out more about Christophe Jacrot in our dedicated article.