Unconventional Alpine Landscapes
For two years, with their 4 × 5 large format camera in their luggage, a lot of patience and great physical effort, two photographers from Munich were on the road in winter sports resorts between Lake Geneva and Nice. Their astonishing photographical documentation ÉTÉ covers once hypermodern holiday colonies, created in the building boom from the 1950’s until well into the 1970’s, that mark the euphoric departure into the future and have landed like gigantic spaceships in the middle of nature.
With the photography series, called ÉTÉ, Olaf Unverzart and Sebastian Schels explore Alpine landscapes in shots that have nothing in common with stereotypical postcard images. The two photographers have captured a total of 33 ski-resorts in the Western Alps of France and Italy using plate cameras. Their pictures, taken in the years 2018 and 2019, portray a world marked by the architecture and infrastructure of the tourism industry. They show winter sports centers that were conceived from scratch on the drawing board as holiday resorts. From the 1960s onwards, these structures shot up in a way that is nearly unimaginable today. They were designed for the general public as places undisturbed by traffic, offering space-efficiency and high-density in line with the functional leisure architecture of the 1960s and 1970s.
These utopias from a bygone era seem divorced from the present time in which more and more ski resorts are falling victim to climate change. Owing to their subtle, almost poetic perspective, Unverzart and Schels have created a photographic monument to the ideas of that age. All photos were taken during the summer months: the deserted places without snow exude an eerily disconnected, melancholic mood.
Design: Alexandra Rusitschka
Publisher: Verlag Kettler
Essay: Dietrich Erben
Photography: Olaf Unverzart and Sebastian Schels
Volume: 184 pages, 98 Images
Release first edition: October 2020
Workmanship: Hardcover, Linen, 24 × 30.5 cm
Printing: Special Edition + Prints
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