Hurricane WavesEdited by Jay A. ClarkeFall 2015


To photograph storm-tossed waves during a hurricane, Clifford Ross goes into the surf himself, deploying a wetsuit, flotation vest, and a rope that tethers him to his assistant back on the beach. The result is a series of stunningly dramatic black and white photographs that are among Ross’s best-known works. This book collects for the first time the entire Hurricane Waves series (begun in 1996), presenting black and white tri-tone images of all eighty-four of the Hurricane Waves in the series, along with detailed close ups, and historical color images. It accompanies a landmark exhibition at MASS MoCA, Landscape Seen & Imagined.


The photographs show waves arrested in mid-air but roiling with movement, offering a distorted mirror of the clouds above them, shooting up in an explosion of foam, folding in on themselves, rising tall as a waterfall. We know that the photographer is imbedded in their fury, but in the photographs there is no sign of any human presence. These astonishing images affirm Ross’s commitment to the expressive powers of realism as well as to the most advanced possibilities of technology.


Edited by Jay A. Clarke

Texts by Phong Bui, Jay A. Clarke, Orville Schell, and Joseph Thompson


Co-published by MIT Press and MASS MoCA 


Purchase Hurricane Waves here