In their series 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.
Olaf Unverzart, Sebastian Schels