Jana Harper | You Call It A Cloud

You Call It a Cloud (2014)

[Click here for a view of the exhibition]

Joie’s clouds have been on my mind for the last ten years. In the fall of 2013, I returned to the San Luis Valley near Crestone in order to interview people whose occupations keep them in close relationship to the sky. I showed them her favorite photograph and asked them to talk to me about it. I was curious how people from different occupational backgrounds would describe the same image. I spoke with pilots, flight mechanics, a meteorologist, an environmentalist, a rancher, a micro-climatologist, a historian, and a retired philosophy professor. Each of them provided a different “read” of Joie’s image, demonstrating that the truth of clouds always comes in the plural.

While staying in the valley, I attempted to locate the forgotten photographs. On the last night of my trip, I found the archive in a crawl space under a rental property. Four cardboard boxes held more than a dozen black archival storage containers, each meticulously labeled and filled with photographs, proof prints, and negatives of clouds.

This exhibition documents both my personal journey in recovering the photos and the conversations I had with the residents in the San Luis Valley.