The AIPAD Photography Show: Photography Legends Jay Maisel And Stephen Wilkes

While roaming this year’s AIPAD Fine-Art Photography Show in New York, which runs through the end of today, I came across one of the great photographers working today, Stephen Wilkes, who is an artist that has captured many iconic images in his fine-art, editorial and commercial work.

Stephen Wilkes discussing a recent Day-to-Night image that the photographer shot in British Columbia, Canada of grizzly bears.

At the show, Wilkes was standing in front of one of his more recent works, which was done in a panoramic style he calls “Day to Night”, a series he began ten years ago. In these cityscapes and landscapes, Wilkes says he portrays these images “from a fixed camera angle for up to 30 hours to capture fleeting moments of humanity as light passes in front of [the] lens over the course of full day. Blending these images into a single photograph takes months to complete.”

“Grizzly Bears, Bella Coola, British Columbia, Canada,” by Stephen Wilkes, 2018, 50 × 92 inches. Courtesy Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York.

In this large-scale photograph, Wilkes said the image is actually a proof of concept that allowed him to receive a grant from National Geographic Society to help document endangered species in Canada, which includes grizzly bears. During the long shoot, Wilkes said there was one rather alarming moment, when one of the bears depicted in the image had actually approached his group, coming within several yards of their raised platform, which was about fifteen feet above the ground. Luckily, the bear eventually turned around and left the photographer and his assistants alone.

But another nice thing about attending such photo events is that you’ll often find great photographers meeting up with other legends. As you see here in the opening picture, which I shot at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery booth, Stephen Wilkes is seated next to one of the most accomplished living commercial photographers, Jay Maisel, who has won many awards over the years and has shot five Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers, the first two covers of New York Magazine and the cover of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. 

In fact, Wilkes, who has been called one of Maisel’s proteges, recently completed and released a documentary on Maisel titled, Jay Myself: Photography, the Bank, and Me. The film debuted this past November in New York City.

For more on the work of Stephen Wilkes, go to stephenwilkes.com

For more on Jay Maisel’s work, go to jaymaisel.com

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