Major cities, unpolluted

French photographer Thierry Cohen spent three years traveling and photographing nine major cities like San Francisco (right) and Rio de Janeiro (left). He then found a sophisticated way to eliminate the effects of pollution from the photos he’d taken.

The results, as you can see, are quite mesmerizing:

A photo showing how major cities in the world would look if we didn't have pollution

Here’s the high resolution gallery, and this is how he did it:

The photographer crisscrossed the globe photographing cityscapes from Shanghai to Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro, by day—when cars’ head and taillights and lights shining from the windows of buildings were not a distraction. At each location, Cohen diligently recorded the time, angle, latitude and longitude of the shot. Then, he journeyed to remote deserts and plains at corresponding latitudes, where he pointed his lens to the night sky. For New York, that meant the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. For Hong Kong, the Western Sahara in Africa. For Rio and São Paulo, the Atacama Desert in Chile, and for Cohen’s native Paris, the prairies of northern Montana. Through his own digital photography wizardry, Cohen created seamless composites of his city and skyscapes. (via smithsonian)

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