Imagine a New York devoid of people, its empty streets, bridges and waterways as silent and magnificent as an Ansel Adams landscape. This is the New York that Christopher Thomas reveals in duotone photographs that are at once haunting and nostalgic. Employing a large-format Polaroid camera, Thomas shot many of these images in the early hours of the day or with long exposures. The result is a rare glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge without pedestrians; Grand Central Station without commuters; Fifth Avenue without cars, vendors, workers or shoppers. Not only do these photographs allow viewers to appreciate the spatial and architectural splendor of these New York City icons—they also evoke a dreamlike feeling that is unusual in visual depictions of the city. Timeless, yet unmistakably contemporary, this collection by an internationally acclaimed photographer is an important addition to the pantheon of photographic essays of New York’s most beloved settings.
Petra Giloy-Hirtz, former associate professor in medieval German literature, is a curator and author based in Munich; recent exhibitions and publications include Julian Schnabel: Polaroids, Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album and David Lynch: The Factory Photographs.