TOP: Hurricane LX (2009) BOTTOM: Hurricane L (2009)
< THERE’S NOTHING THAT brings me as much pleasure as finding my way to the beach and rolling in the powerful surf. But if I should ever happen to bump into Clifford Ross there, I’m pretty sure I’d head for home.
You’ll know what I mean after stopping by The Drawing Room in East Hampton, where the 58-year-old photographer is showing works from his Hurricane series. In this collection of exquisite black-and-white photographs, he captures the tidal effects of Long Island’s most awesome storms. News reports of big hurricane-formed waves prompted him to grab his camera one afternoon in 1995 and head to an East Hampton beach to document the drama. Since then, he’s been back time and again. “It took two or three years to figure out where to position myself in the surf, how to develop the film and what scale the final prints should be,” he says.
Frustrated by the lack of detail existing cameras provided, Ross invented and patented the R1 camera, which captures landscape images on Kodak aerial film. It uses large-format (nine-by-18-inch) negatives, which are then scanned at high resolution. For six months, the image is painstakingly massaged into form. The final result is displayed in a unique framing system of Ross’ design, which allows perusal of fine details. The process allows him to make some of the highest resolution large-scale landscape photos in the world.
Ross’ works appear at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. He has also photographed trees, leaves and mountains with quiet reverence that would do Ansel Adams proud. But his hurricane photos—terrifying and terrific—are anything but just another day at the beach. 16 Newtown Lane, 631-324-5016; drawingroom-gallery.com