On Saturday January 21, 2017, my first solo Photo Exhibition opened at Gallery StileVivo in Männedorf, Switzerland. The show opened with a Vernissage, which included the launch of my first published book ‘Into the Light’. ‘Summits’ and ‘Into the Light’ are the culmination of a 15 month journey into healing my shattered soul where I walked hundreds of kilometers, hung precariously out of helicopters, repelled into glaciers and took thousands of photos. While healing myself, I documented my journey and climbed my own metaphorical summit. This is my story.
Almost two years ago my mother died, and my long marriage ended. To deal with my grief, I started walking. I walked in the mountains, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for weeks. Whenever I could get away, I would find the highest accessible location and walk. Up to the summits and down into the valleys. Sometimes with a guide and sometimes with friends. Being in nature helped me to breathe and to calm my mind. It’s easy to not be preoccupied with one’s own thoughts when climbing on the side of a mountain. ‘One foot in front of the other’ was often my mantra. I always had my camera with me and would make time to stop and take a photo.
There is something incredibly cathartic about being high on a mountain. It’s no coincidence that mountains have historically been portrayed in literature as obstacles to be overcome, or symbolically as overcoming obstacles. In religious communities and writings, mountains are sacred, representing a fully aware state of consciousness and are the destinations of spiritual journeying. The world is full of sacred mountains, which climbers, pilgrims and adventurers have all flocked to in the hopes of experiencing spiritual transformation.
For me, mountains and their summits are pinnacles of power and grace. I personally feel an incredible surge of physical strength when I am standing on them. Geologists state that the Eurasian and African plates are still converging and the process of mountain building continues to this day at the rate of 1mm to 1 cm each year. I think this energy is palpable.
My exhibition ‘Summits’ is the culmination of my journey. At the beginning, I had no idea that it would result in anything at all, at the very least I was hoping for a bit of emotional healing. But I received much greater gifts. I have witnessed the inexplicable beauty of the most rugged and uninhabitable places; the poetry of nature’s creation that is pure and raw. But I also saw things that disturbed me like evidence of glaciers retreating, which is occurring at an alarming rate. Some areas that I photographed will look entirely different in a few years. This concerns me.
I have decided to use my photography not only to document what I think is beautiful in this world but also to show areas of concern that I feel need addressing. On a positive note, I believe we can all be engaged to make a difference in this amazing world in which we live, and to contribute something meaningful that we are passionate about. ‘Summits’ is my new beginning. I hope you enjoy the show. For further details about my exhibition, look here.
Stay tuned for part Two - "Vernissage" coming soon...