The sky is blue, right? Except when it’s overcast. Or sunrise. Or sunset. Or night. Or…wait, is the sky really all that blue in the first place?
It’s a question explored by Eyes on the Sky, a bespoke book of incredible data visualization by Jed Carter, which documents sky color as captured by 64 webcams across Europe. Each page is a smeared snapshot of one hour of time, and the book explores a full week.
“My intention was just to give viewers a different viewpoint of something very familiar,” Carter tells Co.Design.
At first glance, the pages may seem to make no sense. In reality, what you’re really looking at is a highly regimented grid of webcams, each capturing just a little bit of their sky. The trick is that they’re blended through a diligently tweaked wave of algorithms to create the pleasing, gradient aesthetic. So while it looks like abstraction, Eyes on the Sky is actually data-defined art.
“I think I just wanted to make something beautiful from something which can be seen as quite boring,” Carter confirms. “Everyone loves a good sunset but what about the rest of the time? In England especially the sky is often overcast, but there is a very subtle but definite variation in shades and hues of grey over the course of the day.”
In this graphical framework, all those washed-out skies really do become a celebration of subtlety, and you realize that amidst countless shades of grey, there are actually inspiring bits of lavender. And what we know as that ubiquitous “blue” sky actually can range all the way from dirty denim to brilliant robin’s egg.
Sadly, Carter has no plans to publish more than one copy of the book–though he’s open to the opportunity, and prints, along with a web version, could be on the way.