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Photographer removes cars and people to show the beauty of New York City architecture

Johnny Simon
Four Buildings-Marc Yankus 2017

New York City hosts some of the most iconic buildings in the world, but it can be a difficult place to appreciate architecture. Pedestrians crane their necks to view the structures while stopped on a crowded sidewalk. People pass by beautifully unique facades every day but, in the hustle of city life, completely tune them out.

To give new life and a chance to appreciate the buildings New Yorkers ignore, artist Marc Yankus made a series of images that remove vehicles, people, and animals from the frame. The resulting photos show an eerily empty New York, as if someone was strolling through the city on New Years Day, or in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. The photos, part of his show “New York Unseen,” are currently on display at the Clamp Art Gallery in Manhattan.

Using Photoshop to digitally manipulate his panoramas, he shows landmarks like the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art standing in an eerily quiet world. Everyday storefronts and brownstones exist without the motion of everyday life.

It may seem odd to need to remove the life surrounding a building in order to appreciate it. Architecture is only as effective as its interactions with the people that use it. But Yankus believes his work gives busy New Yorkers a brief moment to appreciate the buildings they often pass but can’t fully take in.

“In my portraits of New York’s buildings, I aim to mute some of the visual noise that can distract from their essential beauty, allowing the viewer to see the entirety of each building and in the process helping them see the city anew,” he said in an artist statement.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Casa Oliveira.

Hudson Street.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Flatiron Building from above.

The Bronx County Courthouse.

The New York Public Library.

The Dakota.

The Tweed Courthouse.


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