This series of photographs, entitled Nachtfluge, features the light trails of airplanes as they take off and land across the evening skies. To create each shot, Brooklyn-based photographer Kevin Cooley traveled to various major airports in the United States, including JFK, LAX, and Newark, New Jersey’s EWR. Using a large format camera and long exposures of anywhere from four to five minutes each, he waited for planes to pass by and visually documented each individual flight path.
Through this time-intensive study of light and motion, Cooley produced a collection of serene landscapes in which he transforms massive airliners, filled with hundreds of people, into single streaks of soothing, meditative light. Cooley says, “Photography is by nature an exploration of time. The blink of an eye may be frozen by the shutter. Or in the case of this series, many minutes or even hours add up to construct a single image punctuated by the paths of commercial airplanes.”
You might not instantly recognize the amount of time and effort that goes into each photograph, but, after watching the video below, viewers will have a better understanding of Cooley’s incredible patience! The photographer is a master of unique light. If you like this work, then you will enjoy his other project, entitled Lights Edge, in which single streaks of surreal light shoot across night skies.