In Late 2008, I set out on an ambitious project, to use an 8x10 camera to make black and white portraits of the inhabitants of a small ski town called Alta, Utah. It was my goal from the beginning to publish a book on Alta, describing its people and feeling through photographic portraits. Over the last 4 years, I have been travelling to Alta each winter to shoot more photographs and working at improving the content. In Total I shot around 200 portraits at Alta, all using natural light, large format film cameras and white paper backdrop on the deck of the Wildcat Ticket Office. I now feel there is enough work for a book and I hope to bring my dream into reality this winter in conjunction with Alta's 75th Season!
Why Shoot Alta versus some other place?
Because Alta is INCREDIBLE! Its a place where you can ski over the light fluffy over the head head powder snow and jump off a cliff! Its a place where you can smile ALL DAY! Its a place where you can breathe fresh air and soak up sunshine and be active! It's a place where people are genuinely having fun and enjoying life and its not about how good you ski, but more about how stoked you are about living in the moment!!! Any place that pushes the bounds of possibilty is worth a thousand photographs in my book. Alta is a state of mind, where one is connected to those about them and the nature that surrounds them and that is truly special!
This project is about preserving and documenting this culture of enjoying the moment of skiing for future generations. In today's world of corporate profiteering and massive development of ski areas, Alta remains true to its roots and it is one of the last places in America with a genuine experience not tainted by big corporate influence. Surrounded by the threat of increasing real estate development and ski terrain expansion, eventually the Wasatch Mountain Range and the local skiing culture could be influenced and/or changed. I often have felt that Alta embodies a spirit of adventure, fun, challenge, hard work, true friendships/partnerships, camaraderie and family values, many aspects I think make our nation awesome. Grassroots community ski mountains like Alta are incredible places to be, places worth fostering and preserving. I hope this book will be a great example for people in the future on how to enjoy life through nature and shared experience! These are intangible goods no corporation can take away!
Alta in its essence, is the beating heart of American skiing... it was
one of the earliest ski areas in the western United States, founded in
1938. To this day very little has changed, Alta at its core is all
about skiing, snow and the outdoors. Its the one of the last "skiing
only" resorts with minimal chairlifts (5 main lifts only compared to
places with 20+) and real estate development (which is now completely
constricted and environmentally protected). Many of the best runs are
difficult to get into and involve an extended hike/climb. There is very
little commercialism in town, no malls
or stores or shopping village common to most resorts, just a few lodges
and restaurants. It is populated by people who still enjoy the no
frills experience and camaraderie of skiing Alta's dry light and deep
snow(annually over 500") on the steep and challenging un-groomed
Back in the 1800s
Gold rush, Alta was a Silver mining town which peaked at 20,000 people
during its height! It was an enclave of
maverick miners outside the very conservative Mormon controlled Valley.
Today its population is a few hundred and it still exists right outside the suburban residential sprawl of Salt Lake.
Like many many people before me, the first time I skiied
the Alta's Alf's High Rustler in waist deep dry powder, I was hooked. No where else
have I rode in so much snow it was over my head. Like flying and
floating on air all it once, skiing Alta's powder is an incredible
Of course, Alta's amazing powder snow attracts incredible people who enjoy skiing it! On my first visit to Alta, what I
noticed was people who were enjoying life and living it to the fullest
100%. So back in 2008 when I was contemplating a subject for a portrait project, Alta stood out as an awesome subject.
This is what the project is about, the people enjoying a
life lived in the mountains, surrounded by snow, peaks, nature and
sunshine. A photo documentary of a magical place not focused on an
overdeveloped profit motive, and dedicated to no
commercialism, inhabited by people practicing a commitment to simple
skiing and enjoying life to the fullest. In many ways, Alta Alta remains a unique grassroots skiing community
unique that still carries the feeling of skiing the classic American
West. An atmosphere that many more commercialized places have lost
through development and corporation. Whatever happens in the future, I hope this book/project remains a great example of what skiing can and should be!
This book has been a labor of love. Alta has taught me many lessons
about how to enjoy and experience life in new ways and it has changed me forever. I have really enjoyed making all of these images.. it is a
special place and inhabited by incredible people and I hope these images capture the spirit of the place!
Kate and Tamara
All the photographs are done (over 140 portraits in total!!!) and I feel the book is finally ready to go with enough content. The Final book will be either 158-162 pages in total! Please help me take my dream into reality!
How I made the images:
The Bulk of the images were shot on 8x10 film on a deardorff wooden field camera.
Many of the images were also shot on a 4x5 Graflex Super D
Some of the images were made using the 35mm cameras: olympus XA ,a Konica Autoreflex, a Kodak Retina Camera and also a Mamiya 6 folding (1950s) 120 film rangefinder camera.
Besides having your name on the THANK YOU page in the book, I am offering 5 different fine art landscape prints in 4 different sizes (8x10, 20", 30", 40").
There will also be a LAUNCH PARTY in Alta, UT at some point in 2013, most likely in Late January or Early Feburary. ANYONE involved in the Alta community or who has backed the project will receive an invite and will be welcome to attend. There will be music, drinks and dancing in true Alta style. (and maybe some photos too!!!)
All the People who have a portrait in the book will recieve a copy of the book free of charge.
The Donation amounts include shipping for the book or print in the continental USA. For international there will be an additional charge.
The largest donation amounts ($1500+) include a family or personal portrait session by me done in Alta or NY, NY. I shoot with large format cameras and black and white film and usually natural lighting. I will provide prints and digital files afterwards.
The Five Fine Art Black and White Landscape Reward Prints:
All were shot on Kodak Black and White Film 1st 3 are large format and the last 2 are 35mm
Each Print Edition (8x10, 20",30", 40") will be in a limited edition (1/5, 1/4, 1/3, 1/1) and hand signed and number by the artist.
What will the money be used for? :
Specifically the money will go to costs associated with the layout and design and finally the print and shipping costs. My Final Estimate is roughly $1000 for the design and $10000 for the print and shipment of the books.
Have a question?
If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.