Why I take Cloud Photographs

The photography above is titled Cloud  Tapestry.

—Eh! Qu’aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire étranger?

—J’aime les nuages qui passent … là-bas … là-bas … les merveilleux nuages!

—Eh! What do you love, extraordinary stranger?

—I love the clouds . . . the clouds that pass . . over there . . . . over there . . . the marvelous clouds! Charles Baudelaire


—Have you ever, looking up, seen a cloud like a centaur, a leopard, a wolf, or a bull? Aristophanes


I became a photographer after many dreams of strange clouds. This link will take you to an interview with me on my history with clouds.  Just click and then scroll down.

Those complex, cinematic scenes in the sky astonished me. They were clearly impossible, I told myself. I also dreamed of an elaborate sunset on the New York Times building (referring to the New York City period of my life, which I wrote about in my  Love in Transition book series). Earlier still, I had a lucid dream, in which at a certain point in my life, instead of more pages to write on, there would be a museum of previously unknown beautiful portraits of or by old masters.

This preconditioned me when one day I casually shot the end of a roll of film off a balcony in front of my apartment in Belgium. The shots caught my attention.

I began to experiment with sunlight. I wondered about the energy fields represented by the clouds.  When I stared up at them, I would fall into a meditative state and begin to see faces. The more I stared, the more these images came into focus. When I had the film developed into 4 x 6 prints, I would sit in bed at night, turning through the print booklet, and as I stared, it was as if the images began to deepen and gain edges. As if they weren’t exactly fixed if observation was applied, It seemed somehow to make the 4 x 6 prints come alive. As if seeing was in some sense creating the moving view.

One of Da Vinci’s techniques

for inducing creative reverie was his practice of looking for recognisable patterns or images in the ashes of his fireplace. . . . You can do the same thing with clouds, patterned wallpapers, bark on trees etc. Just stare at the clouds and see what pictures you can see in them—faces, landscapes, animals and so on.

Eventually my artbook, Toward a Philosophy of Perception: The Magnitude of Human Potential—Cloud Optics, was published, I had a solo exhibit in Romania, and was in Marquis Who’s Who in American Art. (I still am, in 2016.) As invitations came in, I found world-class master scanners and printers—to digitalize the film.

The human potential is infinite and (oddly enough) limited by our perception. Margaret Harrell’s pictures bring in elements *beyond* perception, thus opening a window to divine experience.

—Naomie Poran. PhD, Aroma Therapy

The Thames was all gold. God it was beautiful, so fine that I began working a frenzy, following the sun and its reflections on the water. —Claude Monet


Bedtime Tales
Bedtime Tales