In light of today’s not-so-historic New York snowstorm, many of us have been left pondering the true nature of the white menace. Luckily, there are photographers like Paula McCartney who has made it her personal endeavour to reveal the many beautiful forms of snow and ice.
McCartney’s book, A Field Guide to Snow and Ice, is a visual catalogue that is stark yet striking. Rather than focusing on a certain location or landscape, the subject is the pure diversity of visual forms that snow and ice can take. Some are beautiful abstractions, while others are mundane reminders of our own encounters with wintery weather.
While the images have a clear aesthetic appeal. McCartney’s approach is almost scientific in its sober account of the phenomena she photographs. She states:
I’m inspired by the studies of Karl Blossfeldt, James Nasmyth’s constructed lunar landscapes, and August Strindberg’s misinterpreted Celestographs — works by artists who collected and interpreted nature in their own peculiar ways. I use the scientific practice of collecting and organising specimens as a starting point for my work.
The photos are almost scary in their frigid minimal-ness. Brrrrr.