William Bentley’s nineteenth-century photographs of snow crystals have now been digitized.
Throughout his life, William Bentley was obsessed with snow, ice, and other natural forms of water. Over nearly half a century, he took more than five thousand photographs of snowflakes, but he was also the first American to record the size of raindrops and one of the first cloud physicists.
The Natural History Museum in London has bought an album of three hundred and fifty-five images, created by the pioneering scientist and photographer in 1899, and has now published it in digital form.
Bentley was struck by the beauty of the snowflake photographs. “Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost,” he wrote in a 1925 account.
And for us, in a winter of record-breaking heat, when even the ski resorts have barely any snow, there is nothing left to do but enjoy Bentley’s snowflakes.
See the full album here.