This digital project by Paris-based photographer Thierry Cohen is an imaginative tale about how urban landscapes might appear if we turned out all of the lights. In a big city glowing with street lamps, store signs, car headlights, and rows of illuminated apartment buildings, it’s almost impossible to see the stars in the sky. One project review says, “Atmospheric and light pollution combine to make looking into the urban sky like looking past bright headlights while driving.”

To bring a sense of nature back into these environments, Cohen has taken a bit of a scientific approach. He travels to places free from light pollution and captures the skies that rotate on the same axis as the urban skylines. Those same skies that were at some point visible above the cities are then superimposed into the darkened cityscapes.

The result is Darkened Cities, Cohen’s project in which cold, dark, and desolate cityscapes sit below these atmospheric wonders overhead. In a sense, Cohen is bringing a forgotten nature back into these places. His darkened landscapes are a frightening visual of what it might look like if a city had to be completely shut down. His images are a reminder of the magical beauty of nature and through this project, he encourages viewers to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to appreciate—most importantly, not take for granted—the natural world around us.

Thierry Cohen: website