Category Archives: Buttermilk sky

JUNE 14, 2015


Some years ago I began a series called “The Elements,” in which I was trying to see if I could photograph the phenomena of the 4 elements without resorting to the conventions of traditional renaissance perspective where there was a horizon line and diminishing markers of distance. I asked myself, ‘can I photograph the simple fact of each of our 4 phenomena; Air, Water, Earth, Fire, in such a way as to make them the pure statement of the thing itself?’

I began looking at sky, sea, earth, etc and realized that this could be close to being the most familiar and boring photographs one could make. Dumb images of dirt? Still photographs of water in a pool or lake? But my thought was to make them BIG, really large scale, say 10 feet high by 12 or more feet long; and I did make some like that for a show in Germany, where they were well received and collected.

I continue to add to that body of work whenever something speaks to me. Here was a moment when the light was going, and a stream of buttermilk clouds slowly drifted into view, and I found myself in that frame of mind where studying the sky for a while was a purely pleasurable experience, and what could be a better stimulant than pleasure for making photographs?

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FEBRUARY 8, 2015

Buttermilk Sky

Whenever I see a buttermilk sky I am drawn to watching its curdled passage across the heavens. It’s a harbinger of weather systems on the move I’m sure, but of exactly what kind I am not. Still, they make for great skyscapes and play well with almost anything they relate to, like these trees with their frail, wintery branches whose color, somewhere between gold and green, vibrates against the blue.

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