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Rich Bergeman at Art in the Valley Gallery
February 8 @ 9:30 am - March 5 @ 5:00 pm
Rich Bergeman, Sky Palettes
Feb. 8 – March 5, 2022
Art in the Valley Gallery
209 SW 2nd St., Corvallis, Oregon 97333
Tues-Thur 11am-4pm; Fri-Sat 9:30am-5pm
Corvallis photographer Rich Bergeman will be showing a selection of infrared photographs from his series “Sky Palettes” at the Art in the Valley Gallery.
Bergeman said he started seeing cloud patterns in a new light during the pandemic shutdown of 2020, when his “travels” were limited to walks around his residential Corvallis neighborhood.
“I was struck by the fascinating canvas overhead, especially the high-flying, feathery cirrus clouds, so I began taking my infrared camera along on my walks,” he said. “Since then, as my travels have widened, I’ve become a card-carrying member of the Cloud Appreciation Society (a real thing–look it up!) and have continued to look for compositions in the sky.”
Called the “patron goddess of idle men” by the Greek playwright Aristophanes, clouds have been an object of study and fascination for centuries, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century that cloud spotters began to apply a scientific rigor to classifying them. This has resulted in a complex nomenclature that groups clouds–from the fluffy to the fleecy–into 10 genera (or families), each with several “species” and associated “varieties.”
“What fascinates me most is the cloud genus known as cirrus, which is Latin for fiber or hair,” Bergeman said. “They form at the highest altitudes and are composed of ice crystals rather than water vapor, which gives them a silky, semi-transparent structure.”
The genus cirrus includes five different species and four different varieties, all based on appearance, but because they are constantly evolving as they flit across the sky, positive identification by amateurs can be tricky.
Bergeman counts himself an amateur: “It turns out I am better at photographing these wispy clouds than I am at identifying them, so I often make up my own names based on what the cloud shapes suggest. By using an infrared-sensitive camera, I can isolate them against the sky and dramatize their shapes, lines and movement.”
A retired instructor of photography and journalism at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, OR, Bergeman has been exhibiting his photography throughout the Northwest for more than 30 years. Originally a large-format film photographer and darkroom printer in silver and platinum, he currently works primarily with digital infrared cameras and archival pigment printers. He has been exploring the infrared spectrum since 2015.