Equivalents [7]

Elliot Anderson


30" x 40"

Pigment print on Hahnemuhle 310gsm

Edition of 20


From 1921 to 1935 the artist Alfred Stieglitz created a series of photographs of clouds, which he entitled “Equivalents”. By emphasizing abstract fields of light, Stieglitz evoked equivalents of subjective thoughts and emotions. Inspired by Stieglitz’ work I began collecting snapshots of clouds and skies gathered from the web-searches on the Internet. Using software I designed I “averaged” together a selection of these images. Averaging is an algorithmic process that merges a series of images into one, creating a final image that is a composite of all those submitted to the software. The resultant image is a layering of desires, dreams, and emotions that the everyday photographer searches for in the sky.

Another influence on this work is the aesthetic of the sky from Hudson River School paintings. The Hudson River School was a loosely affiliated group of 19th century painters who lived and worked in the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York. These artists were the first to truly represent the American Landscape. The vocabulary of their work included luminous and at time ominous skies through which they sought to evoke an emotional response to an idealized American wilderness. This aesthetic of skies and wilderness still operates today within the ubiquitous snapshot multiplied by online technologies. My work is an attempt to reveal the vocabulary that is historically inherent in twenty-first century framing of natural phenomenon and American landscape.

–Elliot Anderson