Slowing down gives us more time to look. Having more time to look changes how we see. I wanted to slow down.
Using alpine touring skis, a small backpack, a folding medium-format camera, and twelve rolls of black-and-white film with ten exposures per roll, I set out to traverse and photograph a high route across the Alps. Each piece of equipment for this trip was chosen for its simplicity as well as its limitations—and for the extra time, attention, and patience it requires.
Traveling up and over mountains by skis has a way of shifting time away from something that is measured in minutes, hours, and days. Ascending one step at a time through untracked snow, the units become ski lengths, pole plants, breaths, sips of water, bites of food, daydreams, changes in weather or light.
The physical limitations of low-speed film in a mechanical camera call for a heightened attention to composition, exposure, and technique. Every frame becomes its own unique experience—one that builds gradually with each precise movement of the camera, each small adjustment for focus, aperture, or shutter speed.
“Every frame becomes its own unique experience.”
Once I’ve settled on an image, I take a deep breath and try to be as still as possible. High in the Swiss Alps, in the space between the breath and the click of the shutter, time slows to a stop.
“High in the Swiss Alps, in the space between the breath and the click of the shutter, time slows to a stop.”
These images were made over the course of eight days, and selected from a total of 120 images, where just one exposure was allowed for each image. They have been minimally altered from their original form in order to stay true to the tonality of the film, and are the pure, unfiltered, timeless compositions that I’d been looking for. △