The Polygon Gallery’s Cloud Album looks skyward at a subject that’s captured the imaginations of photographers since the advent of the camera
250+ images of clouds are on the horizon at an exhibition about the history of photography
FEB. 3, 2022 (VANCOUVER, CANADA) — The Polygon Gallery presents Cloud Album from March 11 to May 1, 2022, a new exhibition that celebrates the breadth and beauty of clouds, a subject that has long captured the imagination of photographers, artists, and scientists. Cloud Album features more than 250 historically and culturally significant works drawn from the collection of the London-based Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC), an organization dedicated to the preservation of vernacular photographs, artifacts, and ephemera. Works in the exhibition span some of photography’s earliest images through to modern-day satellite photos.
“Clouds went from being impossible to shoot at the dawn of photography, to becoming one of the most photographed subjects today,” says AMC’s Luce Lebart, co-curator of the exhibition with Timothy Prus. “Even when it was technically difficult to render clouds in photographs, people were devoted to capturing the sky and its many manifestations. For Cloud Album we assembled images produced over a century and half by artists and photographers using increasingly sophisticated techniques. Through this we discovered stories both small and epic arising from a shared fascination and curiosity about the sky above us.”
The exhibition includes early experiments depicting clouds by photo pioneers like Gustave Le Gray; pre-photographic cloud studies by the great British landscape painter John Constable; exciting and previously unknown works unearthed through research into the history of meteorology; works by aviators and artists in flight; snapshots of cataclysmic mushroom clouds from atomic bomb tests; and views from Apollo 9 of a large storm system.
The title Cloud Album refers to a stunning scientific album that will also be on view. Initiated by Belgian meteorologist Jean Vincent in 1894, hobbyists and professionals alike are contributors. This living document reflects the efforts of more than a century of successive generations of meteorologists, each as fascinated as the next by the ephemeral phenomenon of clouds.
Public programming related to the exhibition includes Kid First Saturdays, a day of artmaking for families that takes place on the first Saturday of every month; guided tours every Thursday and Saturday; and digital offerings, which will be announced closer to the opening of the exhibition.
Cloud Album is a featured exhibition of the 2022 Capture Photography Festival, which runs from April 1 to 29, 2022.
For more information about the exhibition, visit thepolygon.ca/exhibition/cloud-album.
Image: Ferdinand Quénisset, Cumulo-Nimbus, Juvisy, France , 1903
About the Archive of Modern Conflict
Established in London in 1991, the Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC) is a repository for lost and forgotten stories that lie hidden in the photographic record. Initially focusing on conflict, AMC’s holdings have grown to over eight million images, and it now acts as a laboratory as much as a traditional archive, producing books and exhibitions that span a multitude of genres.
About The Polygon Gallery
The Polygon is one of Canada’s most acclaimed photography and media art galleries. The Gallery moved into its Governor General’s Medal-winning building in 2017 after operating as Presentation House Gallery for 40 years. The organization has presented more than 300 exhibitions and earned a reputation as one of Canada’s most adventurous public art institutions. Admission is by donation, courtesy of BMO Financial Group.
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