Look up. This heaven bound exhortation is one you will be well rewarded for at this time of year, where the combination of blue and skies and fluffy white clouds create a skyscape rich with possibilities. The sky has long been an inspiration for those of us creative people, who have often been chided for having our head in the clouds. For painters, and more recently photographers, the inclination to raise our inclination is almost irresistible at times. Why, you may ask, is this?
For me it is all about light and the blank canvas. From writers to musicians the dread of nothing, and the fear of being creatively blocked, and damned by a lack of material from which to create something, is often dismissed as much ado about nothing. You should, we are told, take inspiration from the everyday, from within you, and the experience of your life. You can though, also take that spark of motivation from the blank space itself. So whether you are a choreographer faced with an empty stage, or a painter looking at a blank canvas, how you choose to move across it can often be inspired by that space itself.
For Painters and Photographers nothing represents that empty promise more than the sky. The illusion of blue that we perceive, is actually nothing more than blue part of the spectrum being scattered by air molecules, due to it's shorter, smaller waves. This is why when you get closer to the horizon it fades from a lighter blue to white. This great white wash that reveals the objects and landscapes in front of us, is also the primary medium with which we create images. You will see photographers do this often when outside looking to see where the sun is in relation to their composition. Shadow and light are dictated to us outside in the natural world by the state of the sky, and often that state is reflected in the work created in response to it. Think of the melancholic brooding seascapes of Turner, the horizon rich with the brooding burden of heavy portentous clouds, or the joyous optimism of Magritte's blue skies, punctuated with adorably fluffy white clouds.
Now in spring and particularly over the last week or so the photographic opportunities in Plymouth and the surrounding west country here in Devon, and over the border in Cornwall, have been great if one takes the time to look up. We have had all sorts of clouds. There is actually a cloud spotters appreciation society and even an app for those dedicated to the cataloguing and appreciation of the white, grey and sometimes almost black condensed masses of water vapour floating above our heads.
I have been shooting them for a long term project with differing techniques and cameras and you can see just a few shots from that project, photographed here in Plymouth over two days at the end of April here