Some of the snowflake photomicrographs taken by the man who invented the technique are up for auction at a price of around $5000 U.S. each. “Snowflake” Bentley received a microscope when he was fifteen years old and by the time he was nineteen, in 1885, he had invented a way to photograph snowflakes through the microscope, outside in the cold so they wouldn’t melt.
He spent much of his life photographing thousands of snowflakes. To show other people their beauty, in 1931 he published a book called Snow Crystals. It was re-issued in the 1970s (above) and at one time I had a copy of it.
He told a magazine in 1925: “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind,” he said.
In Jericho, Vermont, where he lived, there’s now a museum with about 2000 of his prints.