In 2001 I had a daily commute of 50 minutes to go 50 miles. Not bad when you compare it to others who commute 50 minutes to go half that distance. On my way home during the winters I saw some great sunsets and clouds that were lit-up by the setting sun. I took these abstract photographs, which I call my Clouds Series.
My careful selection of different portions of the frame allows the silver crystals of the film (not digital noise) to provide great texture to the organic shapes of the clouds. You may notice some of the images are tighter crops of other images, I call this “the image with in the image”. It’s a technique I learned while working at Elmi Graphics in Hollywood. Jonathan Exley was a close friend to us at the lab, and a photographer for Michael Jackson and other celebrities. He was an avid weekend motorcycle racer in the mid-1980s. He came in one night, handed me a slide and asked that I make a 30×40 cibachrome print of him racing. He and his motorcycle were a small spec in the 35mm frame but he wanted only him on the motorcycle to fill the 30×40 print. I had to raise the enlarger to its highest height, about six feet from the paper. The resulting print was fantastic. The grain added so much to the image. It gave the image grittiness, a quality that at the time was hard to achieve any other way. I have used that technique of cropping beyond tight to enhance the abstract quality of several of my series. “Clouds” is one of those series.