I happened upon a strange and wonderful little book today, at a used bookstore in Louisville, KY. It is entitled A Pig With Six Legs, and other clouds, from the Cloud Appreciation Society. I cannot find any ISBN number on the book, but the dust jacket shows a price in UK pounds (ten of them, in case you’re interested). The Cloud Appreciation Society was formed in 2004 “to fight the banality of blue-sky thinking, and to remind people that clouds are one of Nature’s most beautiful and life-giving phenomena.” According to the intro, the society boasts some 8000 members in forty-plus countries around the world, and indeed the diversity of contributors’ names would seem to bear that out: Richard Baker; Roberto Cavallini; Fabian Klenk; Ole Johnny Nilsen; Arun Padake; Gianandrea Sandri; and Sena Zunic, to mention but a few.
All clouds are, by nature, unique, but this group of approximately thirty exquisitely photographed examples is exceptionally so. With titles such as “The Michelin Man goes to rob a bank,” “The Cloudship Enterprise,” “A first kiss is ruined by someone smoking,” “A bear trained in the cruel sport of duck juggling,” and “A mermaid swimming under a giant frog,” these are truly clouds for the ages. As editor Gavin Pretor-Pinney points out: “Not only did someone have to be looking up at just the right moment, and happen to have a camera with them at the time, they also needed to be in the particular frame of mind required to be able to see shapes in the clouds.”
In the almost 200-year-old words of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
“O! it is pleasant, with a heart at ease
Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies
To make the shifting clouds be what you please…”
Here, then, are a few examples, offered on the premise that a picture is worth 10-cubed words: