Reading Sontag’s On Photography again, Chapter 5 introduced me for the first time to the cloud formations of Alfred Stieglitz, taken between 1922 and 1935.
For some time I’ve been collecting my own series of cloud images, a few of which are shown here, for apparently similar reasons to Stieglitz in that:
- They are aesthetically pleasing to look at:
- They can “represent corresponding inner states, emotions and ideas“
Clouds can be transient, heavy, light, mysterious, forbidding, domineering or airy. They can influence moods and reflect them. Of course they can also be changed for better or worse by man in the form of contrails, hinting that the scars man makes on our environment.
So are they images about people or the clouds themselves? What does choosing to take the photograph, like or dislike it reveal about us as people?
There is something disorientating about an image without any ground. Yet looking up is such a natural thing to do. Are these Landscapes? Skyscrapes? Naturescapes? The decision to include or exclude the ground has a significant effect on how the image is viewed, becoming abstract formations by the simple action of cropping or selective framing.