Visible yet immaterial, clouds seem to thicken into dark, foreboding masses or disperse into thin air at the turn of a moment. Scientists and artists alike have pondered these manifestations of condensed water vapor, studying clouds for meteorological data or appreciating them as mirrors of their inner states of mind.
For photographers, clouds have presented a unique challenge and creative opportunity since the medium’s early days. Through selections from the Museum’s collection, Securing the Glow: Photographs of Clouds explores how clouds act as expressive forms in landscapes, as platforms for pursuing abstraction, or as telling signs of atmospheric erosion. Among the artists represented in this exhibition are Robert Adams, Eliot Porter, Alfred Stieglitz, and Linnaeus Tripe.
What unites these different approaches is the profound sense that to capture a fleeting cloud—in the words of poet Emily Dickinson, “to secure the glow”—is, in some way, to attempt to photograph the flux of time itself.