It’s often asked where Art Direction ends and Design begins. As the digital world has afforded individuals unprecedented control of their work, the line between art direction and graphic design has further blurred. Here is a perfect example where the art direction is the design. And I would hope that as fellow designers look at this magazine cover, the “art director” in them will be reminded that when a photograph contains this much beauty and information, then your job is to just stay out of the way and allow it to shine. The stormy skies, the familiar bright lights of Manhattan at night, and the near-perfect infographic of the devastated (dark) parts of the city. Read below to see the challenges of getting this shot.
Architecture photographer explains how he got that New York magazine cover shot
Shooting in the dark, with a handheld camera, in a vibrating helicopter, 5,000 feet above land sounds like a photographer’s nightmare. But Iwan Baan made it look easy.
The Dutch photographer’s image of a half-illuminated, half-powerless New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy captured the nation’s attention on the cover of New York magazine.
“It was the only way to show that New York was two cities, almost,” Baan said on the phone Sunday evening from Haiti. “One was almost like a third world country where everything was becoming scarce. Everything was complicated. And then another was a completely vibrant, alive New York.”
Baan made the image Wednesday night after the storm, using the new Canon 1D X with the new 24-70mm lens on full open aperture. The camera was set at 25,000 ISO, with a 1/40th of a second shutter speed.
“[It was] the kind of shot which was impossible to take before this camera was there,” Baan said.
It was more difficult to rent a car than a helicopter in New York the day after Sandy, Baan said. And because there was such limited air traffic so soon after the storm, air traffic control allowed Baan and the helicopter to hover very high above the city, a powerful advantage for the photo.
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