The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.
Today’s featured artist: Eric Meola
I began photographing tornadoes and storms out in the heartland of America several years ago. As springtime approaches, I become restless with the need to get out into the prairie, the flat grasslands and the empty, eerie landscapes of the states that form tornado alley: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Texas and Colorado and New Mexico. I like to look at clouds, I love to photograph them—this is where I can be a kid forever. I’m reminded of the Minor White quote, “A photographer is someone who has his head in the clouds and his feet on the ground.”
The photography of storms and weather phenomena is, for me, an exploration of the ephemeral, the constantly changing shapes and movement of the atmosphere. My photographs are meant to capture the dichotomy between the fury of skies torn apart and the tranquil, lonely solitude of the Great Plains.
My notebooks from chasing storms reflect the Buddhist-like state of meditation and peace I get from being out on the open prairie, simply looking at the sky:
The sky unfolds in sheets of light, shedding its skin, changing texture like a torn sheet folding in upon itself. Undulating in luminous bands, the ghosts of the wind fade into each other, their shapes changing again and again into other forms. A thin line runs along the prairie’s edge, defining the space between the sky above the land below—a boundary without a boundary, a place called infinity.
I go out to the Great Plains for the contrast and contradiction between the quiet, peaceful loneliness and that ominous foretelling of Armageddon when the sky turns dark and a howling wind erupts in blinding clouds of dust.Darkness comes, and with it the eerie green light of hail. The sky goes black, pulsing with flashes of turquoise, crimson and amber. You hear hail cutting through the trees, and watch it rushing towards you on the dashboard radar. Perhaps a twister will drop its thin spindle from the clouds tonight and race across the prairie’s ruler edge. In slow motion a supercell forms, pulling hundreds of acres of red clay topsoil more than ten miles up into a roiling sky. In the fading light, I photograph clouds lit by the glow of lightning, and then the night sky filled with stars. Scenes from a wild prairie night burn into my mind forever as the darkness is punctuated by staccato blasts of lightning.
I am working on a book of my photographs with the tentative tittle Fierce Beauty: Storms on the Great Plains, and publishing it in 2020.
Photographs © Eric Meola 2017
To see more of this project, click here.
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s. After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease.