A few weeks have passed since the Alps // 40 opening on October 5th, and as usual, it has taken some time to sink in, so I'm just starting to grasp its significance.
For this project, I wanted to create an environment where I was forced to slow down. And while the photography component was certainly slow -- traveling through the Alps on skis, with very basic camera gear and a finite supply of film -- the entire project ended up stretching out into a sprawling, technically complex, intricately detailed, slooooow undertaking.
From selecting the proper camera, to getting the frame color to match the off-white paper stock, to hanging the last piece in the show (from the ceiling) on opening night, I became fully immersed in the creeping, methodical pace of doing things right -- letting the images tell me when they were ready to move forward, rather than forcing them forward. Over the course of this project, and due to its time and labor-intensive nature, I've learned more about myself and others than I had ever expected.
Of course the opening wouldn't have come together without a lot of help from some incredibly talented people, all of whom were patient with my need for a few extra rounds of revisions, fussing over a few millimeters, and wanting to talk it through one more time. To everyone that was a part of this, I sincerely and humbly thank you.
Yvon Chouinard says, "How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top." So when opening night came, with the show placed on the walls, carefully lit, and the food, wine, and music in place, I took a half hour to be in the space alone.
And I realized that it didn't really matter if anyone came. The opening, while the public culmination of the project, was just another stop on the Alps // 40 line. Even if I hadn't found the film that I lost in Geneva, the project would have been a success.
Nevertheless, there was a huge turnout for the show, and it made me soooo happy to see people drinking, laughing, and moving slowly from image to image, from start to finish. Marianne and Quincitraveled from San Francisco, Matthew came in from Utah, and my Mom even made the trip from Ohio. The evening flew by, and I got to reconnect with old friends, and make some new ones.
At this point, I've sold through about half of the first edition. Each print that goes to its new home brings me more happiness, and I take extra time to wrap them, meet with their new owners, and put them up in a place that works. My hope is that these images will remind people to take a few more deep breaths each day, take a few more minutes to look, and see or think a little differently.
It also has me thinking about what the next mountain will be, and how I plan to climb it.