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Photography exhibition: ‘New York Sleeps’

Abandoned squares and silent train stations paint an unusual and spellbinding picture of the metropolis of New York. Christopher Thomas’ photography exhibition is showing at The Wapping Project Bankside until 26th February.

Written by Jessica Furseth

View from Rockefeller Center

Whether you blame Woody Allen or Carrie Bradshaw, discount we all feel like we know New York a little. I’ve listened to Candace Bushnell’s heroine wax lyrical about ‘her’ New York enough times to understand that New Yorkers feel about the Big Apple the way us Londoners feel about the Big Smoke. Or at least that’s what I gather, visit this site never having actually been to New York myself. But being surrounded by Christopher Thomas’ gorgeous, pilule sweeping photographs of New York, the city has been nudged yet another few steps up on my list of must-see places. Even though there isn’t a person in sight, the images show a city brimming with character and soul.

Brooklyn Bridge II

Christopher Thomas is also something of an outsider to New York, being German by origin and dividing his time between Munich and New York. But after last night’s opening at The Wapping Project Bankside, there is no doubt of the photographer’s love for his second home. The images making up ‘New York Sleeps’ were taken early in the morning over a period of nine years. Thomas used a custom-made large format camera, long exposures and Polaroid film to create these beautiful images. Familiar landmarks are present, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Guggenheim museum and Central Park, but also less obvious subjects such as delis, street corners and ferry terminals.

Cyclone rollercoaster

The taped edges of the polaroid negatives are kept in the prints along with the occasional water mark, adding a brilliant effect to the final product. While the pictures are full of intriguing detail, it is the open spaces that draw in the viewer. One image of Central Park shows the walkways covered in snow without a single footprint, while in ‘Central Park, Bow Bridge’, half the image is a grey space which could be water, ice or even sand.

Central Park, Bow Bridge

After last night’s gallery opening, my friend and I eventually had to step back into London. We ended up meandering along the South Bank, finishing our plastic glasses of wine. As much as Christopher Thomas’ pictures make you wish you were in New York, it’s hard not to notice that the view from the South Bank is pretty decent too. Not bad at all, actually.

Solomon R Guggenheim museum. All photography by Christopher Thomas, courtesy of The Wapping Project Bankside.

‘New York Sleeps’ is showing until 26th February at The Wapping Project Bankside, 65a Hopton Street, London SE1 9LR. For more information see our listing.


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2 Responses to “Photography exhibition: ‘New York Sleeps’”

  1. ellio100 says:

    if sleepy cities are up your street then there’s a ‘London Sleeps’ exhibition at the Museum of London at the moment!

  2. Jess says:

    Yes I couldn’t help but think someone really should do this project for London … would be even better!

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