Wilson A. Bentley: How do you Photograph a Snowflake?
Wilson A. Bentley, group of 5 photographs of snow crystals, gold-chloride toned photomicrographs from glass plate negatives, circa 1903-1910. Estimate: $8,000 to 12,000. And group of 5 photographs of frost studies, including a frozen grasshopper, dandelion, spider web, droplets and morning dew, gold-chloride toned photomicrographs from glass plate negatives, circa 1903-1910. Estimate: $6,000 to 9,000.
Toddlers learn that no two snowflakes are alike; yet the most inquisitive of young minds have been known to ask the question, “How do you know that?” Credit Wilson A. Bentley for the answer, as he was the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885. By adapting a microscope to a bellows camera, Bently captured over 5,000 images of snow crystals in his lifetime, and discovered the now commonly-known fact that no two snowflakes are the same.
Bentley wrote: “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes or [‘ice flowers,’] were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Each crystal was a masterpiece of design; and no one design was ever repeated.” A group of five photographs of snow crystals, and a separate group of five frost studies, are each in Thursday’s sale of Important Photographs & Photographic Literature.