Clouds Clouds Clouds
Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott's exquisite photo series of clouds plucked across the wide world are now gracing the walls of our Rhinebeck shop. The ethereal, transportative qualities they emit are truly calming; I might even say, loving. Perhaps the confluence of mere image and paper are here imbibed with some of what flows between them. (Think inspired love and co-creation, but more on this later...) This could explain why each cloud feels oh-so-good to be in the presence of. Our customers have been lingering even longer than usual, and then with a long breathy exhale, they gush about the beautiful photographs and the calm they feel in their midst. Yum.
For forty years Momatiuk and Eastcott have lived my personal dream: experiencing, witnessing, sharing, recording and showcasing the miraculous in our natural world -- while making a living at it! Of course it's easy to romanticize the idea of wading in icy waters, camping out and hiking to all of earth's corners and crags to get the image and story (indeed they are both lush storytellers, too) with the one you love most. And the truth is, they have always and still do LOVE what they share and create together. Not to mention each other! These clouds are but a small window in, and out.
"We have been photographing clouds for years. We've watched them form and dissipate, glow with a multitude of hues and roll heavy with storms, move with the wind and stand still for hours. We've felt the energy of these vast cloudscapes towering cumulus formations, iridescent waves of lenticular clouds and feathery cirrus fans.
The sky is a wilderness, a celestial refuge. The clouds we observe are volatile and ever changing, visible to us but out of reach. We cannot harness, own, or develop them. They retain the clarity of their structure of fine water droplets and crystalline ice particles suspended in the atmosphere at altitudes reaching up to several miles. They create entire skyscapes, half of the landscape we see and challenge us to look up and watch them unfold.
To make our images, we work in open spaces filled with weather. And while we photograph the clouds moving above grasslands and mountains, ice fields and canyons, forests and deserts, we experience the weather which creates them. We are buffeted by wind and get chilled to the bone, swelter in heat and hunker in heavy rain feeling the next-to-the skin sense of being there. This part of the process is what makes it real for us: our physical presence in nature and the sense of being fully alive."
Consider this: regardless of who pressed the shutter to make a particular picture, both names are signed on every print and are heralded in every photo credit. They both speak so effortlessly and honestly about their combined experience and influence upon one another, it's enviable! Momatiuk and Eastcott are unequivocal story weavers and easily express such an exquisite and palpable respect for one another, but most especially their differen
Yva said, "Sharing work with someone you love can be difficult because often we approach things in a complicatedly dissimilar way. But when the solutions are very different this also helps us examine why we do things the way we do. I think by working together rather than struggling alone we become richer, so doing things together has a greater meaning and adds a deeper dimension. I think we both cherish it, although we may do it in a different way. We are both very decisive people and so it's an act of faith and good will to get us someplace in the same boat with a single paddle, so to speak. And we have to make sure that each decision we fight for is not an ego performance, but done because our voice simply needs to be heard and we are certain that what we think and see will make the work even better. And the trust that is required is crucial not in contradiction of that certainty, but in support of it."
John succinctly put it this way: "Yva said that 'we're very different,' and that's very important because each of us keeps showing the other new ways precisely because we think differently. And we have a choice to either be shown another world and way of seeing that we would not have access to otherwise, or sadly go it alone. By the same token, we can choose to see our differences as endearments or as irritants. We choose to see them as gifts that endear us to the other person, or we wouldn't be open to experience what the other one is offering. Hence, the two-headed dragon that we have become."
John continued, "It's work, but it's creative work. And 'work' is such a funny word, and growing is a crucial part of that term. It's about inquisitiveness and a sense of awe. Gratitude is also a really important part of it, along with curiosity. Juggling our relationship is a kind of dance, always remembering that the whole is greater than the sum of our parts. Yva and I are lucky because our ability to co-create comes from a place deep inside. We share our ideas, and even though one person may be the driving force in the end, the output includes thoughts which came from both of us. So that's how our relationship is. We're working not towards our individual selves but the union. We give up sovereignty of ourselves for the benefit of the relationship. That does NOT mean we belittle ourselves, but we always make sure the relationship wins."
Forty years later, amidst a Tinder-disposable-on-to-the-
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