Inside this issue
Between the North and South of Europe
I am primarily a landscape photographer who focuses on abstract, representational, and the grey area in-between. My upbringing was on the British coastline in Sussex and I moved to Basel Switzerland in my early 20s. It is from here where I now spend as much of my time as possible exploring and capturing the stunning nature around Europe.
It’s five o'clock in the morning. Outside my train window, I can see illuminated, modern cities passing by. Slowly, the alps begin to appear. The landscape here is idyllic. Old wooden barns in flowery meadows which roll up to beautiful snowy peaks which are lightly brushed with the morning light, it could be the cover of a chocolate box.
Suddenly I hit a tunnel, and everything changes. The ground is covered in shingle and rocks, olive trees and grapevines sit at the bottom of sheer precipices and towering peaks. What sits high above the tunnel separates not just the two languages and cultures but also the geography, vegetation, weather, and the North and South of Europe. Up here is where I am heading.
Except for the sheep farmers and hiker huts, the Greina pass is one of the places where nature still has a strong foothold in Switzerland. This can be difficult for farmers up there. I met one lady who had a small hut on top of the ridge. She told me how the eagles and the recently introduced pack of wolves often take her lambs, she was exploring the idea of getting a llama in the future to protect them. The elements can also be unpredictable and fierce.
There is a back and forth between the Mediterranean and northern European climates along the pass. On the two occasions, I went up there to get these shots, there were storms on one side and 30c heat and blue sky on the other. The storm clouds on the northern side repeatedly broke off from the bulk as they went over the ridges running along the pass, they then rolled up the valley, bringing intense wind, rain and snow.
The constantly changing climate has created a landscape that made me nostalgic for the mountainous areas of the UK. At certain points in the pass, you’d come across weathered mars-like rocky structures, boggy swampland and deep carved out gorges. It's beautiful to photograph, you could easily spend a few days in just one of the valleys. It is also very quiet. Something that I very much appreciate about the hikers and photographers that you meet up in these remote areas of the Alps is their mentality; the need to be peaceful and respect nature is something which is quite ingrained in this hiking culture.
I stayed in two different hiking huts when I went there; they somehow, miraculously considering the location, offer breakfast and dinner if you are there at the right time, which I never was.
There is something in the smell of the location and the soft sounds of running water and chirping groundhogs. Like a calmness which is almost thick in the air. Occasionally, this was broken by a sudden storm that would creep unexpectedly around the valley, there was something very humbling in the unpredictable nature of it. Such an atmosphere was beautiful to photograph in, I plan to visit many more times in the future.