Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott are artists of another ilk, working as close as one can get to the old class of explorers. The two will be featured in a new exhibition of works focused on ice in the Ashokan reservoir opening at the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art (KMoCA) this Saturday, January 7, as well as a show of their stunning cloud portraits at the Center for Photography at Woodstock later in the year. They are well-known for their nature works following animals across distant landscapes, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and for the Zenlike patience that they use as a tool to capture the beauties of life that most of us have no chance to see other than in conjecture, or via their work.
“To make our images, we work in open spaces filled with weather,” they have written. “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.”
She is originally Polish, having come to extreme nature photography (and writing) from before she was 10; he, from New Zealand, published his first book of photographs at age 17 and met his creative partner in Wyoming’s Grand Tetons. Together, the couple has followed the wild mustangs of the American West and the intricacies of the Gulf of Mexico’s vast wetlands, shot the pampas of Patagonia and witnessed the wonders of the Arctic for photographic essays that have appeared in National Geographic, Audubon, Smithsonian, Nature Conservancy, Geo France, Spain and Russia, BBC Wildlife, Stern, Focus, The Observer, Nature’s Best, Wildlife Conservation, Equinox, Sierra and Nature Canada. Single images have appeared in Life, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Natural History, Geo Germany, Travel and Leisure, The Sophisticated Traveler, Illustre, Panorama, Elle, Airone, Gente Viaggi, BBC World, Outdoor Photographer, Camera 35, Modern Photography, The Geographic Magazine, Nature Canada, Harry Abrams, Chanticleer Press, Grolier and Reader’s Digest Books. They have also published six renowned books, including National Geographic Society children’s works Face to Face with Wild Horses and Face to Face with Penguins. Among other honors, the two have received four awards from the National Press Photographers’ Association Pictures of the Year and five awards at the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year international competition.
“Our process leads us to fundamental questions about visual experience and perception of what we see: How do we view a scene while looking at it? How do we remember it – for days or years – after we leave? How do our memories reflect images taken at the time when we saw the scene? And how can the photographic medium be used to encompass and communicate what we see – the entire half-dome of the cloudscape, or its most exquisite fragment – and yet stay in the realm of a still photograph?” they note. “To answer these questions, we use various photographic techniques…We use our medium to explore and expand the limits of our perception.”
Their new works on view at KMoCA – one of the region’s more enterprising galleries of recent years – focus on the patterns, swirls and textures of winter ice on the Ashokan Reservoir, located not far from their home in the Catskills town of Olive.
Their work will be seen at KMoCA with a series of images by photojournalist Candace Feit, who currently lives in New Delhi, India and has been focusing on people’s relationships with the sea, be it via leisure or work. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Time Magazine and US News and World Report.
The opening reception for this exhibition runs this Saturday, January 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. Ashokan Ice/Indian Ocean then continues at KMoCA through January 28.
The gallery, located at 103 Abeel Street in the Rondout section of Kingston, is open on Saturdays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment. For further information visit www.kmoca.org.