After getting caught outside in yesterday’s epic blizzard in New York City, we decided that in future it’s probably preferable to appreciate the beauty of winter from a safe distance. As such, we’ve compiled a selection of our favorite winter-themed photographs — everything from dew-encrusted butterflies and snow ghosts to the work of some of the world’s most famous landscape photographers.
Alexander Gronsky, The Edge
Young Russian photographer Alexander Gronsky won the Aperture Foundation’s portfolio prize last year, and his work is now on show at the Foundation’s gallery in Chelsea. His work depicts the interaction of civilization and the wilderness, and his winter landscapes are both stark and evocative, with humanity often reduced to small smears of color against an otherwise all-encompassing whiteness.
Joseph O Holmes, Long Meadow North
Like Gronsky, Holmes — whose exhibition The Urban Wildnerness is showing at Jen Bekman in New York at the moment — photographs urban landscapes that are transformed by snow into something more primal and beautiful. This photo was taken in Prospect Park, but honestly, it could be pretty much anywhere.
Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm
The grandaddy of American landscape photographers, Adams wasn’t averse to a winter scene or two. Here’s a particularly good one.
Peter Dombrovskis, Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend
Australian photographer Peter Dombrovskis was well-known for his large format photos of the rugged wilderness landscapes of Tasmania, lugging a huge camera and film plates out into some of the country’s most remote and inhospitable areas. This 1982 image — of the icy Franklin River — is perhaps his most famous, because it depicted a part of the river that would have been submerged under a controversial proposed hydroelectric scheme. The scheme was a central issue in the 1983 federal election, and was eventually defeated — a defeat that was in no small part due to Dombrovskis’ photos bringing the Franklin’s stunning natural beauty to the public eye.
Galen Rowell, Patriarch Grove
Rowell’s interest in photography arose from his first love, rock climbing. His images began as a way to document his trips into the mountains, and even though he never trained as a photographer, his work eventually became an end in itself. This image is from Bristlecone Pines in his native California, the home to some of the oldest trees on the planet.
Amy Stein, Howl
Amy Stein is another photographer whose work looks at the border between civilization and wilderness. The images in her 2008 book Domesticated explores the connection between humanity and animals in the context of a frozen Pennsylvania town, and at times her images remind us how frightening the world beyond the confines of our civilization can be. If that’s what’s outside, we’re pretty happy here by the heater, thanks.
Miroslaw Swietek, Butterfly
The work of Polish physiotherapist Miroslaw Swietek attracted a sudden blaze of publicity earlier this year, with profiles published on a slew of blogs and in Britain’s Daily Mail, a paper usually better known for its conservative rants than its taste in wildlife photography. Swietek only took up photography a couple of years ago, but his macro images of insects are pretty amazing, none more so than this image of a butterfly, captured just before a cold Polish dawn.
Otto Bettmann, Central Park, Kids Running in Snow
Bettmann is best-known for pretty much pioneering the concept of the picture archive, but he was also a fine documentary photographer in his own right. His image of a snowy Central Park circa 1958 shows how little anything has changed over the past 50 years — if you’d ventured out into the blizzard, you probably would have seen exactly the same scene yesterday.
Alfred Steiglitz, Winter, Fifth Avenue
Another image showing how little things have changed over the years. Steiglitz’s 1893 photo of Fifth Avenue dates from the early days of his Camera Club, and represents one of his first experiments with a hand-held camera — it’s a testament to the photographic pioneer’s sense of adventure that he took his precious new 4″ x 5″ brownie box out into a blizzard and what looks like some pretty gnarly sludge.
Simon King, Snow Ghosts
It’s not all fine art photography, y’know. This image — from the Flickr stream of one Simon King — is a Flavorpill office favorite.