Sky #1 | Mark Lindsay

The sky is the most ephemeral of things. A masterpiece of abstraction that is ever changing, each iteration is achingly short-lived. We are drawn to behold a particular moment of sky precisely because we know it won't last. We so want to grasp at it and to keep it, but, alas, it cannot and will not stay for us.

As children we are drawn to clouds. We lay on backs and looked up towards the sky, trying to find form in its whimsical canvas. Who hasn't seen a duck or a witch or fairy princess within a billowing, summer cloud? As adults we tend to save our sky moments for only the most dramatic of events: gargantuan storms and gaudy sunsets. Yet the quotidian expressions of sky are there for us, waiting for the time when we come home and rediscover the present moment in everything. Photography is most useful in this rediscovery.

In 1925 Alfred Stieglitz began his Equivalents series of abstract cloud photographs. Wanting to free his work from inane observations on the literal content of his images, he looked to the sky and found a completely accessible form of abstract expression. He would work on the series until 1934, continually striving to marry technical perfection with artistic vision.

…to show that (the success of) my photographs (was) not due to subject matter—not to special trees or faces, or interiors, to special privileges—clouds were there for everyone…
— Alfred Stieglitz, on his Equivalents series

Today, this body of work is recognized as the first to explore photography as an abstract art form. Stieglitz gave all of us the freedom to make photographs of "nothing" and make them into art. On this day before Thanksgiving, I give thanks to Alfred Stieglitz and what he gave to me and to all other fellow photographers and artists.