New York Magazine's Hurricane Sandy Cover: The Perfect Shot
On New York Magazine’s most recent cover, the text takes a back seat to the imagery, and rightfully so. Previous covers have included prominent, block-letter typography, interacting with colorful, larger-than-life portraits – but not this time around.
Architectural photographer Iwan Baan shot the magazine’s current cover, a stark and stunning view of NYC, only half-lit because of Hurricane Sandy power outages. After struggling to get a rental car (a four-hour adventure that resulted in Baan getting the last available one at JFK), Baan began his search for a helicopter – a tricky task given that most of them were either out of gas or on rescue missions. Despite the hours of travel time and phone calls, everything unfolded perfectly. Baan photographed for just 30 minutes – enough time to get the winning image.
He credits his ability to shoot in a turbulent helicopter at nighttime to his camera, a new Canon 1D X with a 24-70mm lens. After taking upwards of 2,000 photographs, he walked away with “10 percent [that] are maybe useable, and 1 percent [that] were really sharp.”
Having photographed New York City from a helicopter before, Baan knew that he wanted to take an aerial approach to photographing the aftermath of Sandy. He explains, “It was the only way to show that New York was two cities, almost. One was almost like a third world country where everything was becoming scarce.” His image shows this delineation clearly.
Baan also made the interesting observation that the only buildings lit in lower Manhattan are the Goldman Sachs building and the new World Trade Center. He comments, “These two buildings are brightly lit. And then the rest of New York looks literally kind of powerless. In a way, it shows also what’s wrong with the country in this moment.” Baan’s photographs are not only breathtaking, but also manage to provide political commentary and documentation of this natural disaster. Quite the trifecta.
Text: Nicola Parisi
Photos: Iwan Baan
Source: New York Magazine, Complex, The 212