There is one world that remains unknown to the greatest number : high mountains. Some experienced mountaineers have access to it, but some do not associate this dizzying passion with a practice of artistic photography.
If nothing predisposed Thomas Crauwels to become both photographer and mountaineer, with ABOVE,his first book, he proves that he has today become one of the only photographers to be able to offer such images of peaks all located at more than 4000 meters above sea level. Thanks to it, we have access to extraordinary landscapes.
His approach in black &white, his mastery of contrasts and lights and a maturity acquired through his explorations allow him to sublimate the mountain without ever freezing it in a stereotyped representation. ABOVE is therefore not a book about the mountain like the others. Above all, he tells of this all-consuming passion of a photographer for a massif whose sumptuous beauty he has been able to capture.
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The reiteration of black and white images underlines the fascination exerted on the photographer by the vertigo of a summit, the pure line of a ridge, the white light of a suspended glacier, the harmony of a peak, the slope of a precipice, the verticality of a wall. At the end of the chapters, the photographer is the messenger of a contemplation where aesthetics are combined if not with the mystical, at least with his quest. In a slow process of idealization, the mountain is adorned with all the trappings of a real sacred character, appearing and then disappearing.
Thomas Crauwels is in this a worthy heir of the Romantic writers who discovered the mountain landscape towards the end of the 18th century at the same time as Horace-Benedict de Saussure inaugurated, as early as 1787, the conquest of the peaks of the Alps for scientific reasons. The photographer put his steps in those of Rousseau and the mountain acted on him as the engine of his poetic imagination. Through his practice, he expresses the unalterable link between a wild, inaccessible nature and the strength of feelings and emotions
that the human being is capable of experiencing and expressing. The particularity of the mountain is that it provides the exaltation of all.
From the sublime to mysticism, the mountain is as much an aesthetic adventure as a physical experience. Photography, like mountaineering, is first and foremost a body in motion, a body in action.
Inaccessible land, ultimate territory of freedom? Inhuman land? ABOVE proves how closely geography and photography are intertwined as the mountain becomes the scene of their sacred union, territory of beauty and chaos to overcome.
That the mountain is the privileged place of an experience of the sublime is only a return to the etymology: is sublime what rises above us.
In “contact with extremes”, Thomas Crauwels knows that he is facing a quest for the impossible and the ideal.
|Dimensions||28 × 37 cm|
|Photographs and texts||
Vivian Bruchez , steep slope skier and high mountain guide in Chamonix
|Number of pages||
|Number of photos||
90 large format B&B photographs
|Printing & Binding||
Trichrome printing. Cardboard binding. Hot front cover mark.
Trilingual Edition : English, German, French.