See the Storms of America’s Heartland

TIME

In 1977, while driving across Nevada with Rock icon Bruce Springsteen, Eric Meola got caught in a storm. “It was an epic biblical storm,” he says. “It was a light show, a dramatic storm out of central casting.”

The experience prompted New York photographer Eric Meola to return to the Great Plains years later, with camera in hand. It would be the beginning of a three-year project spanning nearly 25,000 miles of what he calls “the most beautiful places on earth.” The project, titled Tornado Alley: The Sky Above the Land Below, will be featured in an upcoming gallery exhibition in New York City.

Traveling across more than seven Midwestern states with a professional storm-chasing group called Tempest Tours, Meola documented everything from hair-raising tornadoes to serene sunsets. While interested in the interplay between light and color in the sky, he also sought to portray signs of life in…

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