series: Day to Night, digital photography
In another practice of this technique and series, Stephen WILKES took advantage of exceptional events to photograph unique places.
In 2012 he travels to Jerusalem for the annual Shavout festival. A Jewish pilgrimage moment or dur-ing a day and night, thousands of believers come to pray and celebrate in a square where the "Western Wall" is located. In the same way, in 2013, a year later, he went to the White House for Barack OBAMA’s inauguration and the beginning of his second presidential term.
In these two photographs it is possible to notice great aesthetic similarities. Indeed, the formal com-positions of the two photographies are very similar. In the very centre is the object of the gathering, the White House or the Western Wall. The sky is divided into three distinct colors. The crowd is in each of the photos in the centre of the lower part, bordered by two guidelines leading straight to the subject of the event. This crowd is so dense and compact that it might seem like a field of flowers. Unlike most of the other photographies in this series, there are no distinct subject. It is not the uniqueness of the people that is highlighted here, but rather the immense gathering that the event brings along.
These two photographies bring together in their strong historical and political symbols. First, in the photo of Western Wall, it is interesting to note the common presence of the image of a Jewish holiday and the flamboyant dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. A meeting of two religions with a common and tumultuous past. As for the photograph of "Presidential Inauguration", how can we miss the clear separation of the colors of the sky? Very different from the second photography, it is very easy to see the blue, white and red colors of the American flag, brandished by all the people in the crowd.
Finally, Stephen WILKES chose images of the different moments of the investiture and put themes into the large screens to the right of the audience. It is possible to see the president with his family, then he goes on stage, takes the oath and gives his speech.