Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 26.11.2011 – Sunday, 12.02.2012

Cloud Studies – The Scientific View of the Sky

“Clouds are subject to certain distinct modifications, produced by the general causes which affect all the variations of the atmosphere: they are commonly as good visible indications of the operations of these causes, as is the countenance of the state of a person’s mind or body.” This is what the English pharmacist and meteorologist Luke Howard wrote in 1802 in the preface to his manuscript On the Modification of Clouds. Eighty years later, meteorologists had still not reached a consensus on how to classify, label, and read the forms of clouds. It was during this time that scientists first began using photography to record and measure clouds. With its help, they attempted to gain precise and accurate images that would provide insight on the interplay between clouds and the atmosphere.

The exhibition Cloud Studies – The Scientific View of the Sky presents six stages of meteorological cloud photography, from its infancy in the 1880s – in Switzerland with the first images by Albert Riggenbach photographed from Mount Saentis – up to the newspaper images that were captured by the first weather satellites in the 1960s. This rich collection of photographs, notes, records and atlases from diverse research sources depicts the origins of contemporary weather forecasting. Each of the six stages represents a certain scientific and photographic perspective on clouds.

The exhibition was curated by Helmut Völter. A cooperation with the Museum for Photography Braunschweig.