Partake In Mountainhood

Aschau, July 2017

took on photographing one piece of the mountain that was visible from the terrace of the cabin we had rented. took at least one picture every day, most days around 10 to 15, resulting in around 500 pictures that show basically the same piece of rock.

the weather, the light, clouds passing by, the sun rising behind the mountain and vanishing on the opposite side of the valley.

noticed a tendency to erase traces of human presence from the wilderness: a piece of a cabin opposite to our house, the chimney that appears on some shots; we prefer our nature unfettered from human stains.

the trick to catch lightning is long exposure, not continuous shooting in the vain attempt to trap the lighting in the sensor. It sounds incredibly obvious, once you know it. But here we are, locked in to the pattern of repeated images. So here there are around 40 to 50 images of the dark rock underneath heavy clouds of rain where I tried to capture the lighting. Not only does the lighting not show, but also the thunder that rolled through the valley and rattled our tiny cabin into a vessel drifting through waves of rain and sound does not show up on the pictures.

And did Andy Warhol actually spent the eight hours and five minutes watching the Empire State Building? Or did he have a guy that did the watching for him, the way he had a guy who did his silk screens for him. And if so, would that make a difference? And what would that difference be? And did actually somebody watch all eight hours and five minutes? Or in New York, where you can hire a guy for practically everything, can you hire a guy that watches the movie for you? Will this transform you?

On the second day I climbed on the table behind our cabin to “get a better view”: What exactly does a better view entail? The process of sitting on the porch, looking at the sky and the mountain, jumping up every 5 minutes when the weather changed or a plane passed behind the mountain, drinking coffee at one time, wine at another, missing several shots because we were out or in bed, or the day when I was too tired or too bored too shoot – all this does not show up in the pictures – then how can the pictures be about being there?

the photograph, no matter what its function may be, must be read clearly.

— Ansel Adams, “Basic Photo 4: Natural Light”

the rock takes up a bluish tone when no direct sunlight falls on it, which stems from the reflected light from the sky above. Direct sunlight from above the opposite mountains goes through different hues from yellow to red and pink: That quality/color of light directly influences our perception how far the mountain is away. Thinking about Fancy’s: “We can move a mountain.”, briefly a hit in the german Single Charts in 2000. In 2013, he participated in the German edition of Celebrity Big Brother, finishing in 7th place. Having things like this in your head, does this change the way you approach landscape photography? (what is the “landscape” in this case?)

the pictures shoot themselves: Once the rule is in place (the camera set up and pointing to the Empire State Building), there is nothing unexpected happening any more. Is that the boring part? Or the exciting part?

and this “rules of production” – this movement to take the author out of the equation: Nakahira’s furor against his own pictures that led him to burning all his Negatives – was that when he realized that he did not succeed in taking himself out of the picture?

and if we make it about these tiny differences in light, exposure, weather, time: does this subvert or enhance the idea? Which is not even an idea, more a tick, a psychological disorder of repetition: When I dream of madness, I fear being locked into tiny fragments of repeating time: three notes of a song I can’t get out of my head (never the entire song), an impossible movement of a knight in chess from a black field to another black field, being locked into a giant fist without the ability to move, every bone constrained, but the pressure neither mounting nor relieving.

Goethe’s Arresting Time and Nietzsche’s Repeating Time – similar concepts or opposing ones? One being the nightmare of the other?

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