We Have to Count the Clouds

An inscription at the National Weather Service station in New Braunfels, TX reads, “He who shall predict the weather, if he does it conscientiously and with inclination, will have no quiet life any more.”

In the ongoing series We Have to Count the Clouds, photographs function as evidence of the ways in which we comprehend, negotiate, and mediate our relationship to both daily weather and our changing climate. In looking closely at the marks that are made–in the prediction of weather, the tracking of meteorological data, as well as on the landscape and human body itself­–the work presents visual remnants of often invisible forces.

I seek out the permanent traces of what is sometimes hard to see with a camera. At weather stations I look for mark making–in the form of a graph or handwritten climatological record. The landscape shows evidence as well–cracked earth, flood debris, charred trees, eroded coastlines. Other indicators, immediate and temporary, like sunburn or goose bumps, appear on the human body. Levees, sea walls and floodgates promise our protection from future events. In the photographs, the built environment becomes a monument to our vulnerability to climate change.  

 As personal as it is political, the work addresses my own wonder and fear as it points to the fragility and hubris inherent in this tenuous relationship. Questioning the disconnect between our daily actions, experience with weather events, and collective fear of the threat of climate change, I intersperse photographs of the landscape with those of the body and built environment. I seek to generate a dialogue which examines our place in the Anthropocene, and the way that understanding might shape our future interaction with the natural world.