NYC Comes Alive Around Massive Mural in Time Lapse Video

A 150-foot-tall figure of a man walking materializes on a Manhattan sidewalk, slowly coming into focus as the city awakens around it, in a new time-lapse video. French photographer and street artist JR directs a team of workers who can be seen scrambling around the piece like worker bees as the hours pass, the sun arcs over the site and thousands of people mill by.

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The New York Times commissioned JR to create the piece for an accompanying story on walking in the city, and produced the video. A camera perched atop the adjacent Flatiron building captures the action as the team wets the pavement before dawn, preparing to adhere the giant paste-up.

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It’s cool to see the process behind installing a wheat paste project this big, and the time lapse shows just how much work goes into it despite the fact that it’s not being hand-painted onsite.

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JR is known for journalistic murals made of his own photography, putting giant faces all over urban structures like walls, roofs, streets and train cars. The photo-realism is especially effective when it’s paired with aging, deteriorating surfaces.