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01 March 2006

Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley

Wilson A. Bentley
Yesterday's digg-generated insight into capturing snowflakes in chilled superglue led us to uncovering the contributions of the unassuming yet important personage Wilson A. Bentley, aka "the father of photomicrography."

Beginning in 1885, "Snowflake" Bentley began a life-long odyssey of capturing, creating and sharing with us all a monumental legacy of photographs of snowflakes, individually on black velvet - including the historic production of a 1931 monograph of 2500 illustrations and images for the US Weather Service.

Naturally, Bentley was a person of unusual character and reserve to boot. From a 1970 article on the renowned photo-naturalist,

Willie Bentley seldom complained about anything, and he seldom got angry. He loved people, and he loved the world of nature, that grand, mysterious world that produced the ice crystals, the rain, the fog, and the dew. He had a very special view of this world and was often saddened because he could not communicate what he saw to others. In this was both the triumph and the tragedy of the life of Wilson Bentley. At this point in his life, about 1910, he was 45 years old, and though he would live another 21 years the majority of his creative contributions had been made. Although they would be little recognized during his lifetime, they were permanently recorded in the pages of the Monthly Weather Review. They could not be erased or lost. That was his triumph.

All of here salute artist, photographer, gentle soul Wilson Bentley on providing a lovely example of a life well-spent.



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