When I was young I used to have two very special crystals that I kept in a wooden box beside my bed. Each night before going to sleep I would take out the crystals along with a small leather bound book that I also kept in the box. I then would sit in bed, partially under the covers, and by the light of flickering beeswax candles study the layers and mystical depths of these precious stones. After some time pondering them I would take out my fountain pen and begin to write in my crudely shaped leather bound book. I believed that I could learn things from the crystals, things about life and the mysteries of the universe. So as I pondered the depths of these crystals each night ideas and understanding would come to mind and I would pen these epiphanies down in my little notebook. And this is where my love for clouds began.

Clouds, like crystals are a magnificent manifestation of nature, appearing with such depth and diversity, so grand and awe inspiring. They are also something that is familiar to all of us, they exist everywhere, and at some point we have all looked up and admired them, many of us even expressing words such as "wow, look at those clouds!" There is something so powerful about them that we connect to. When I first read this prayer of Baha’u’llah I immediately connected with it as it brought these ideas to mind.

“I am well aware, O my Lord, that I have been so carried away by the clear tokens of Thy loving-kindness, and so completely inebriated with the wine of Thine utterance, that whatever I behold I readily discover that it maketh Thee known unto me, and it remindeth me of Thy signs, and of Thy tokens, and of Thy testimonies. By Thy glory! Every time I lift up mine eyes unto Thy heaven, I call to mind Thy highness and Thy loftiness, and Thine incomparable glory and greatness; and every time I turn my gaze to Thine earth, I am made to recognize the evidences of Thy power and the tokens of Thy bounty. And when I behold the sea, I find that it speaketh to me of Thy majesty, and of the potency of Thy might, and of Thy sovereignty and Thy grandeur. And at whatever time I contemplate the mountains, I am led to discover the ensigns of Thy victory and the standards of Thine omnipotence.
I swear by Thy might, O Thou in Whose grasp are the reins of all mankind, and the destinies of the nations! I am so inflamed by my love for Thee, and so inebriated with the wine of Thy oneness, that I can hear from the whisper of the winds the sound of Thy glorification and praise, and can recognize in the murmur of the waters the voice that proclaimeth Thy virtues and Thine attributes, and can apprehend from the rustling of the leaves the mysteries that have been irrevocably ordained by Thee in Thy realm.”

So it is not without reason that we marvel at nature when we behold it. It is the sign of God that we perceive and even if unaware of this we cannot help but feel a sense of awe and respect. It gives us a sense of our size and insignificance in the grand scale of things. But what are the lessons that we can learn from nature? Was I really learning from my crystals about life? In a tablet Baha’u’llah further goes on the expound upon this idea:

“Look at the world and ponder a while upon it. It unveileth the book of its own self before thine eyes and revealeth that which the Pen of thy Lord, the Fashioner, the All-Informed, hath inscribed therein. It will acquaint thee with that which is within it and upon it and will give thee such clear explanations as to make thee independent of every eloquent expounder.
Say: Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise. Were anyone to affirm that it is the Will of God as manifested in the world of being, no one should question this assertion. It is endowed with a power whose reality men of learning fail to grasp. Indeed a man of insight can perceive naught therein save the effulgent splendour of Our Name, the Creator. Say: This is an existence which knoweth no decay, and Nature itself is lost in bewilderment before its revelations, its compelling evidences and its effulgent glory which have encompassed the universe.”

Clearly then there is much to be learned from nature, the creation of God, and the world around us. Paolo Coello’s novel the Alchemist is a beautiful tale of this, of a boy’s journey and the lessons he learns about the universe from observing the world around him: the things he learns from his sheep while he works as a shepherd; from crystal while he works for a crystal seller; and from the desert as he crosses it in pursuit of his dreams. I think that we have become so academic as a society, so literate and technical that sometimes we forget that knowledge and the signs of God are not only in the form of print but also manifest all around us. As Paolo Coello would put it we must learn to speak the language of the universe and commune with the soul of the world, therein lie many lessons to be learned, for there everything is written. 
When an artist looks at the world, they see and frame it through their current mental state. What they reflect of the world then is a manifestation of their inner feelings, emotions, and understanding. Photography for me is a meditative experience. When presented with the same subject at different times I will capture very different things, depending on my current inner state. 
My exploration of clouds began as an effort to capture a sense of the city of Haifa. What resulted from that was that slowly my camera moved from the city and out to the ocean and up into the sky. This is where I found the beauty that I was seeking, simple and pure. Within these spaces I found myself, alone—a speck, a ship at sea; gazing with awe to the heavens above and the textures and layers of billowing clouds as metaphors for the trials, tests and victories that I felt. The clouds and the ocean were not dissimilar to the crystals that I had gazed into searchingly as a child, within them the language of the universe spoke of the mysteries of life. This series of images is an effort to capture the crystals from my childhood within the sky, and explore the layers and depths contained within. 
Back to Top