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Matinee: 'Peter Mathis -- Fine Art in Landscape Photography' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

7 February 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the seventy-first in our series of Saturday matinees today: Peter Mathis -- Fine Art in Landscape Photography.

Produced and shot by Hanno Makowitz, this five-and-a-half minute film follows Austrian photographer Peter Mathis into the Alps on "a treasure hunt" for photographs.

He meticulously plans his excursions, a good thing since he works alone on the mountain where it can be dangerous in the changing conditions that produce the drama he hopes to witness.

He's been doing it for 40 years, carrying a 40 lb. pack with his gear and tent. "Because I am alone, it can be a matter of life or death to misjudge the mountain," he says.

Art historian Christiane Schmieger describes Mathis' approach to landscape photography:

Regardless of the type of picture, the authenticity of his work plays a prominent role for Peter Mathis. His essential design elements are light and structure. Light reflected by the object should be optimized so that it serves the overall structure and composition of the image. A picture therefore is not a simple reproduction of a predetermined motif, but instead is developed with the camera while on site. He refuses any simulation of artificial light moods or movements on the computer that are not reproducible in a physical sense. He is only interested in "true" nature, that which we can actually experience, instead of computer generated artifices.

Many of his works aim to recognize and capture the fleeting nature of the moment, which requires enormous patience and experience. Quick and superficial effects are avoided at all costs.

Good pictures are about the composition or the reproduction of motifs but about creating that freedom for interpretation wherein the observer can see and experience the represented object in newer ways, time and again. By using the means available to him, the artist is able to not only keep the interest alive but also to stimulate it anew. One is "never simply finished" with a motif but looks at it again and again for there is something "in motion" there; something about a situation, about a fact or about a motif that does not allow to be easily definded.

Through composition, lighting, use of contrast and various other aspects, the picture develops a kind of its "own life" which transcends the mere motif and prevents a conceptual definition. It is the living picture that fascinates the observer and keeps his interest alive. It calls upon him to disclose a "secret" which however can never be expressed through mere words. It can only be experienced in the act of seeing.

His most recent project, shooting Mont Blanc, is the subject of a forthcoming book Visual Dualism -- Mont Blanc.

Do yourself a favor and click the corner framed icon at the right of the video playback toolbar to watch the video full frame. In addition to Mathis's images, Makowitz's videography is a treat all by itself.

For once, fortunately, Mathis wasn't on the mountain alone.

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