“Nimbus II” by Berndnaut Smilde
This stunning photograph of an indoor cloud may look like a digital creation, but it’s actually a real scene created by Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde.
The clouds are generated using a smoke machine, but Smilde must carefully monitor a room’s humidity and atmosphere in order to get the smoke to hang as elegantly as it does, with such life-like form. Back-lighting is used to bring out shadows from within the cloud in order for it to inherit the look of a looming and ominous rain cloud.
“I wanted to make the image of a typical Dutch rain-cloud inside a space,” Smilde told Gizmag. “I’m interested in the ephemeral aspect of the work. It’s there for a brief moment, and then the cloud falls apart. The work only exists as a photograph.”
Smilde’s “Nimbus II,” produced this year (in the photo), is also produced within an empty space. But for this setting, the artist chose an empty warehouse with the ambiance of a chapel. The cloud hangs beautifully, back-lit like a levitating chunk of heaven. Uncovered windows produce a faint greyish, blue light which does not impede upon the shine seemingly sourced from the cloud itself. The room remains darkened, while the cloud glows, as if it were suspended in daylight— a juxtaposition which enhances the phantasmagorical impression of the scene.