Jorge Colombo’s new cover, “Night Lights,” for the November 16, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, is as much about negative space as it is about positive space. The blackness and void of nighttime occupies most of the cover; the rest is filled with dots, blots, and rectangles of white and colored light.
Colombo has become a magician with his iPod-created covers. He creates visions of New York City, giving us new versions of it through the filter of his Brushes application. He gives us atmosphere rather than a literal depiction. We already know what the city looks like. Colombo tells us what the city is.
His New York is not just a city of light. It is a city entirely composed of light. Amidst the negative space of the night, lights unconnected to one another create a pattern, like a constellation in the night sky. Colombo’s cover is a collection of street lights, stop lights, office lights, building lights, and car lights.
His illuminations vary in size, strength, and color. His lights do not have boundaries; they radiate and emit indistinct glows that seem to pulse like the radii of a giant red star or the corona of the sun. His lights are blurred by nighttime, by weather, by movement, and by distance.
Colombo’s New York City is beautiful, unburdened by the mass and gravity of solid structures. During the night, the city is pure light. And then day comes, and we must face, and see, the solidness of reality.
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, an editor, critic, copywriter, and pre-web internet nut. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent many years as a New Yorker fan blog. The project garnered some nice compliments and press.
The blog’s now treading the territories of punctuation, publications, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a brilliant brigade of culture writers, editors, and artists. You can read all about the people who've helped build Emdashes here at “Who We?” (That’s a New Yorker joke. Old habits die hard.)
I welcome submissions, questions, corrections, and ardent, obsessive contributors. I also host occasional book-related contests and giveaways. Questioners and publishers, just email me.
Jennifer Hadley designed the original Emdashes pencil logo, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad.