The artwork I chose to review is Ralph Steiner’s photograph from the series “Two Photographs of Clouds”. The picture is black and white and minimalistic, as all it contains is a singular cloud against the sky. It is evident that this piece is an analog photo since it is a gelatin silver print, and this printing technique was commonly used in the past century.
The lines and forms presented in the photograph are soft and smooth. There are no harsh or irritating elements, and the photo’s overall mood is calm and simple. A cloud is an irregular form, but it does not frustrate me. The composition and balance of the image are satisfying, and the cloud being the only object in that patch of the sky seems right. Even though the photo is in black and white, the contrast between the cloud and the sky is lovely. When I look at the piece, I find myself thinking that I would not want to see any other objects in the frame.
The photographer makes the cloud the focal point of the image and the center of interest. The black and white color palette helps with that too, so all attention is drawn to the cloud and its texture and unusual shape.
It seems that Steiner is keen on taking photographs of clouds, the sky, and nature. The second piece in this series is a picture of a clouded sky as well. This makes me think that Steiner has a keen eye for various details and perhaps a vivid imagination, but who knows what these clouds remind him of and why he captured this particular cloud.
I would interpret this piece as a perfect presentation of simplicity, calmness, and steadiness. It is interesting how clouds move fast by nature but are still and frozen in photos. Hence, this image could symbolize the ambivalence of objects and give a different perception of an ordinary occurrence.
Steiner, R. (1982-1983). Two Photographs of Clouds, Gelatin Print [Photograph]. Artsy. Web.