200 pages, 120 colour photos
At the age of twelve, Kevin Erskine (born 1956) witnessed his first big storm: a category four tornado with wind speeds of over 207 miles per hour that raged through the center of his hometown of Hoskins, Nebraska. Fascinated and inspired by this immense force of nature, Erskine began taking his first photographs with his father's camera. Kevin Erskine: Supercell collects 120 of his most stunning large-format portraits of supercells: the least common, often isolated and frequently most severe of all thunderstorms. The photographs depict enormous cloud masses in continually shifting formations: encroaching thunderstorms and pitching tornados create a rich palette that ranges from luminescent periwinkle grandeur to an almost apocalyptic darkness swallowing a red evening sun. In these visions of flat, threatened landscapes under collapsing atmospheres, Erskine masterfully demonstrates the ambivalence between the terrifying force of nature and its stunning beauty.
"Erskine's panoramic images capture the fierce overwhelming beauty of supercell thunderstorms in striking color. Recording these spectacular storms, the images are always framed with just enough of the earth visible to ground the viewer and – when combined with the scale of the prints (and now the oversized book from Hatje Cantz) – articulate the feeling of being dwarfed by the overwhelming force of nature."
- Photo Eye Blog, Sarah Bradley
"Nebraskan photographer Kevin Erskine captures epic doings in the skies over the Great Plains, where layers of cool and warm, dry and humid air clash to create tornadoes, lightning, and, if conditions are right, an especially combustible tempest called the supercell – a massive swirling thunderstorm whose powerful updrafts often precede twisters. A longtime "storm chaser," he has produced a catalogue of atmospheric sculptures whose monikers – wall cloud, mammatus, inflow band, mothership – evoke, as do the images themselves, both the primal and the futuristic. Of course, the imminent doom isn't merely figurative, as the volume's very last photo makes clear: Spread over two pages are the splintered, gnarled remains of homes and trees where a tornado touched down in Greensburg, Kansas, in 2007."
- BookForum, Alberto Mobilo
"To illustrate Nate Silver's recent article on the state of weather forecasting, we turned to the work of the storm photographer Kevin Erskine, whose haunting pictures of atmospheric disturbances are the subject of his book Supercell, which came out last year. "Erskine" is the professional pseudonym used by Erik Hijweege, a Dutch photographer who was inspired to combine his longstanding interests in storms and landscape photography when he visited the United States seven years ago and met the meteorologist and well-known storm chaser Tim Marshall. Hijweege, known for his portraiture and commercial work in the Netherlands, decided he needed an alter ego when he was escaping from his everyday life and pursuing extreme weather, so he came up with "Kevin Erskine." In his mind, Erskine is farmer – someone close to nature – from Valentine, Neb., a town Hijweege fell in love with on one of his trips through what's known as Tornado Alley."
- New York Times Magazine, The 6th Floor Blog, Marvin Orellana
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