“Song of the Skies” is the title used for a 1986 “Camera Canada” magazine article featuring nine fabulous sky images by Alfred Upton, which I have gone back to over and over again through the years. To quote from this article and from “Moments of Beauty”, a catalogue of a 65 year retrospective exhibition in 1987:
“One of Upton’s long term goals has been to capture the drama of clouds in a photographic symphony. As a result of this challenge, he has spent many hours watching the skies for the precise moment when the movement of clouds was most expressive. Gathering storms, promising sunsets and cloud-filled summer skies would send him scurrying to an appropriate vantage point, often preselected. The dramatic results were further heightened by clever darkroom techniques in printing, choice of paper and toning. The dramatic results, in symphonic terms, were [his images titled] “Prelude”, “Crescendo”, “Allegro”, “Adagio”, “Animato”, and “Furioso”, a series of skycapes taken between 1935 and 1982. His ability to do justice to this subject matter prompted one admirer to refer to him as “king of clouds”.
My eyes are virtually always scanning the skies for the same drama that Mr. Upton was, and his images have been and continue to be an inspiration to me. Mr. Upton would usually show where a cloud is travelling as opposed to it being simply a storm cloud by including at least something of the surface of the earth to give the clouds both scale and context. His images are like poetry to me.
Alfred Upton has shown me that patience and perseverance will reward me with expressive skies, but also he has shown me how to interpret and present these skies espressivo.