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Also on View: Mitch Dobrowner – Storms 2015


Also on View: Mitch Dobrowner – Storms 2015 Three works from photo-eye Gallery artist Mitch Dobrowner's 2015 STORMS release are on view along-side the FIRE AND ICE exhibition at photo-eye Gallery through Friday, April 9th. Dobrowner has been working with professional storm-chasers since 2009, capturing the dramatic natural phenomena seasonally displayed throughout the American Midwest.
Mitch Dobrowner STORMS 2015 at photo-eye Gallery

Three works from photo-eye Gallery artist Mitch Dobrowner's 2015 STORMS release are on view along-side the FIRE AND ICE exhibition at photo-eye Gallery through Friday, April 9th. Dobrowner has been working with professional storm-chasers since 2009, capturing the dramatic natural phenomena seasonally displayed throughout the American Midwest. Last fall's 2015 release marked Dobrowner's 6th season photographing under tumultuous skies, and photo-eye Gallery Associate Lucas Shaffer spoke briefly with the artists about the series' progression and what is still to come.

Strata Storm and Bales, 2015 – © Mitch Dobrowner

Lucas Shaffer:     You've been making STORMS images for years now. How have they changed, and what keeps you interested in the work?
Mesocyclone, 2009 – © Mitch Dobrowner

Mitch Dobrowner:     The project has changed as I have changed. Over the past few years I've grown to understand more about what these storm systems are all about. The first time I was out I had no idea what to expect. The project really only started as an experiment. But after the 2nd day of the project... and the experience of witnessing the amazing Mesocyclone that we chased from Sturgis, South Dakota through Badlands National Park and into the fields surrounding Valentine, Nebraska, I was addicted. I had never experienced a phenomenon like that ever before in my life.

Today I experience these storms as more as living, breathing entities. They are born when the atmospheric conditions are right, they fight to stay alive, initially they are unpredictable and can turn violent, as they age they become more structured, take form — and eventually as they age they lose their strength and die out. It all sounds a bit familiar to me. So all I try to do is document their existence as its temporal. No two storms ever look the same or are birthed in the same landscape or manner. I find that fascinating.

Sister Storms and Lightning, 2015 – © Mitch Dobrowner
LS:     How do you connect with the storm chasers? Is it the same group every time? Because you live in California and many of the images are made in the Midwest, how do you choose when to travel and how long are you usually out in the field?

Rope Out, 2011 – © Mitch Dobrowner
MD:     Each year since 2009 I've gone out with my friend Roger Hill. We start in July in the northern plains, initially meeting in Rapid City, South Dakota. We start this trip late summer when the jet stream migrates north from the southern plains — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas — up into the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wyoming and Montana. The initial reason for photographing that late in the season is also because I have always been most interested in photographing supercells; tornadoes were not my primary subject. I always thought supercells were some of the most amazing, beautiful structures I've ever seen. What I did want to capture with tornadoes were not the destruction they cause but how beautiful they are; I wanted to capture them as iconic images. The Rope Out image is one of those. The Triptych and White Tornado images are important images as they represent a variation of these structures that are rare to witness.

So we start in the Northern Plains but end up wherever Mother Nature decides to take us. Over the past 6 years I've traveled over 100,000 miles with Roger — across the United States chasing after these storm systems. Its always an amazing road trip. We've had some amazing adventures. I've met people and have experienced small communities that I would have never had the chance of experiencing if it were not for this project. I'm very grateful for this project — it has allotted me experiences I've only dreamt of.

Vortex Over Field, 2015 – © Mitch Dobrowner

LS:     What’s next for the STORMS project? Anything in particular you’re looking for? 

MD:     I'm interested in seeing what else nature wants to show me. I can only imagine what else is out there. I'm sure there is so much more to see. Examples of other types of storm systems that I'd like to capture a wider variety of are the monsoons and landspouts. Eventually I would love to experience (and photograph) a waterspout.

View the Full 2015 STORMS Release

Read More about Mitch Dobrowner

For additional information and to purchase prints please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly at 505-988-5152 x 121 or anne@photoeye.com.

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