Delaney Allen’s Photos Make Magic From Mist And Smoke

Landscape photography tends to focus on larger-than-life subject matter, like Edward Burtynksy’s gobsmacking photos of the Gulf oil spill last year, or the epic Arctic Circle photos from Nadav Kander. But photographer Delaney Allen goes in the opposite direction, finding the small, intricate moments in the way that miniature particles of smoke and dust and sand are arranged and diffused through sunlight, rain, and wind.

Allen, who lives in Portland, Oregon, began his current project when he realized that the rainbow he was photographing was not visible in the same way to someone else right down the road from him. So he began looking to capture specific moments that are the easiest to overlook, moments that are traditionally the most transient in nature–fog, mist, clouds–using primarily just a simple Canon PowerShot G10 to achieve a level of softness and subtlety.

Even more important, these are moments that cannot be recreated. “If you are using smoke, water and clouds as a subject matter,” Allen says, “you may never be able to see it in the same way.” Clouds, he continues, are always on the move. “Water crashing into a shoreline will always break differently.” In the process, the photographs say as much about humans and the environment as any image of an oil field in Iraq or polluted river in China. Danger may hide at the edge of the frame, but the divine is in plain sight.

Allen’s book Between Here And There, which came out last year, documented and elaborated on the disintegration of a long-distance relationship. See more of his images here.JG