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Weather or Not

Footprints in the Snow
Willim B. Post<br>American, 1857 - 1921<br><I>Untitled [Footprints in Snow]</I><br>19th-20th century<br>Platinum print<br>The McClurg Photography Purchase Fund
zoom Willim B. Post
American, 1857 - 1921
Untitled [Footprints in Snow]
19th-20th century
Platinum print
The McClurg Photography Purchase Fund


William Post loved to photograph the cold, snowy landscape near his home in Fryeburg, Maine. Winter work, he said, “is as full of trouble and requires as much patience as any other in photography; but when all goes well the results are truer and more satisfactory than most other landscape work.” Full of trouble indeed! Besides making the photographer uncomfortable, bitter cold weather could be bad for the camera equipment.

What was so compelling about winter scenes? Post loved the absence of color when the world was covered in white. Then he could capture subtle tones and soft shadows. In many of his photographs, Post placed the horizon line very high up, filling most of the picture with the snowy ground.

There is a sense of mystery in Post’s images. He usually didn’t include any buildings, so you feel alone in nature, not sure exactly where you are. In this photograph, you see a track of footprints, but you don’t know who they belong to or where they are going. Take a quiet moment to imagine where they might lead.

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1. In many of Post’s winter images, the snow-filled ground takes up most of the picture.
William B. Post, Intervale, Winter, 1899, platinum print, The McClurg Photography Purchase Fund
2. Despite the frigid conditions, photographers enjoy capturing winter scenes.
Frederick B. Scheel, Lodgepoles in the Snow, Idaho, 1976, gelatin silver print, Gift of the artist


November 2007