Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Balthasar Burkhard

Alpen , 1994-1999
silver gelatin print on baryta paper
100.5 x 151.0 cm
In 1963 Balthasar Burkhard wins a study grant from the Applied Arts of the Confederation for his photo reportage devoted to the Alps. Thirty years later he returns to the same subject in this large-format photograph called Alpen (The Alps).

Joining the long tradition of depicting the sublime in nature, Burkhard offers us a contemporary version of the theme, which takes on a timelessness thanks to the choice of both his subject and a black-and-white treatment. This subtle use of black-and-white imparts a physical, almost sculptural dimension to his shots. The mountain, carved and shaped by nature, perfectly lends itself to this intention.

More than simply a realist representation of the landscape, it is the peak’s evocative power that the photographer seeks to capture. “I don’t photograph landscapes but rather a subject that is there and awakens something in me, emotions, a feeling, and who cares if it’s a city or a landscape.” He always imagines his photograph in his mind’s eye before finding the visual angle that interests him. “You don’t create a photo when you snap the picture, but rather before that, in your head”, says Burkhard by way of explanation. And indeed because he has a precise idea of his photograph, it is important to him to do the darkroom work himself. His contemporary practice is still based on the traditional teaching of photography on light-sensitive film. Proof lies in the coarse grain of the image, which envelopes the eye when the viewer moves in closer to study the print. It is the same grain that magnificently defines the shadows in depth.
Balthasar Burkhard, Alpen , Alpes, 1994-1999