— Existing imagery, eg. postcards and their vantage points are a great point of reference and I often use them when researching ‘new’ photographs – there is no point to start from scratch on a picture that has innumerous predecessors. More copies of a subject make it more valuable to me.
Which is easy for the Alps, as they have been photographed plenty from the early days on (think of the Bisson brothers, or Eduard Spelterini) and it lives on in its cheap brother, the post or travel card.
The sameness of these postcards, sort of the consensus on subject and vantage point might off-set the idea of originality; to me they validate and prove right the depicted scene, and are a reason to acutally take the photograph myself.
My kind of landscape photography is less expedition than reenactment. It is not about the landscape and spritual experience, nor about a pioneer vision. It is just about an ‘original’ picture of a worn-out genre that I hope to find and I am usually happy when I am back home from the adventure.
Snow has always been a tremendous phantasy for me and – growing up in Germany – there was never enough of it. I only got snowed in once in my life in the Swiss Alps: It was an unforgettable 2 days.
In my pictures snow becomes a blank sheet of paper, an imaginative white space. It is the romantic counterpart to the technical side of photography, the fictional over the rational.
Looking at images of the Furka region in Switzerland – the Grimsel- and the Furkapass, all the imagery happened to be taken in the summertime. Since those passes are snowed in and therefore closed during the wintermonths, there are no images of it in the wintertime. Moreover the streets hardly exist anymore, covered and temporarily erased under the white snow.
When I hiked up the Grimselpass in March 2012 – on a maintained trail – unusual amounts of snow had blanked out the entire area, but my photo, almost the reverse of the found postcards, can’t keep up with the spectacular summer scene, so I am not sure what to do with it yet.
Florian Maier-Aichen was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1973. He studied at the School of Photography and Film, University for Gothenburg, Sweden and the University of Essen, Germany before earning his M.F.A from the University of California Los Angeles, CA. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid and his work is included in such public collections as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. He lives and works in Cologne, Germany and Los Angeles, CA.