A Half Light

Allison Joyce takes a remarkable picture of the darkened city streets in the wake of super storm Sandy which knocked out power for huge portions of Manhattan.

The picture shows a darkened city street with lights off in the distance. Strolling across the street are three silhouettes of people seemingly going about their business as normal despite the complete darkness. The background of light really draws the attention of the viewer because it is almost centered perfectly in a world surrounded by shadows. The street looks to be wet because of the reflection of light off of the ground and judging from the clouds in the sky it probably just rained. There are a couple lights on in closer buildings but most of the color from the image comes from the distance and reflections closer to the point where the photograph was taken. The low resolution of the image removes light from some of the darker shades but it is clear that visibility is almost nonexistent in power outage that has affected this far part of the street.

This picture is an exhibition of the destruction wrought by hurricane Sandy, rather than being a snapshot of the rising waters or destroyed buildings it is a picture of the impact directly to the people of New York. While some New Yorkers sit in the dark with no electricity some who live downtown are still lucky enough to be able to light their buildings and signs. There was a lot of speculation and class warfare about the fact that certain buildings in the financial district like Goldman Sachs were still able to stay lit and functioning while the rest of the city suffered with no power. Instead of being jealous these people should look to the successful who have managed to stay functioning as beacons of hope that one day everybody will have the technology to maintain infrastructure in the face of disasters like this. The silhouettes are very important characters in this image because of the action they are pursuing. They seem to be crossing the street in a very nonchalant fashion as if they are continuing life in the typical New York fashion regardless of the massive disaster and loss of power. Organization of walkers is important to interpret their relationship. The two figures in front seem to be a man and a woman walking together across the street and the third figure is following but probably not involved with the first two because of his position behind and the fact that he is looking at the ground. He has a wider stride like he is walking somewhere important, and it is also possible that he is looking at the ground because it is hard to see rather than simply feeling alone and awkward. They definitely are not aware of the photographer unless they posed for her. They must be aware of the lights down town but seem to be focused on the street in front of them which seems devoid of cars.

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