Courmayeur and Me

Long term inner-city residency comes with a variety of health warnings. From the obvious increased probability of victimization in random street crime, to becoming insufferably critical about the standard of coffee available from one pop-up diner to another. 

In most cases the rivers we built our towns around are often all that's left of the regions true topography. And irrespective of the how permanent our well worn pavements might feel under the cushion of your 88' Airmax, the only everlasting construct is the aquatic arteries that brought us there in the first place. With that bleak misery in mind, it's safe to say that country-side excursions are monumentally important to muffling the mass-homicide inner voice of the modern office worker. 

If you want to feel truly free of the urban animal then you ought to seek to be book-ended by nature, to embrace a kind of brave new bukake and become the gorilla in your own midst. In 1982 a song, credited by exclusionary contract terms to only one Steve Harris, was milked from the mastodon of Iron Maiden's collective genius. They bellowed to the masses, Run To The Hills, Run For Your Lives. They weren't kidding, they were legitimately trying to convey a message indicating that nature is the friend who doesn't mind if you haven't called in 3 years, it's willing to take you back when you're ready to hang out again. 

I don't travel enough, I sleep too much and too often, I feel hassled by social engagements, I'm allergic to birthday parties and intermittently agoraphobic. Inroads are being made to crushing these ailments of my insecure early twenties and when someone mentions travel now, I try to say yes without considering the financial or social responsibilities I have in tow. 

The weight of the mountains surrounding Courmayeur is undeniable. There's an ebb to that volume of earthly mass, the same kind of tingle and ground level vertigo you experience at the foot of a skyscraper, but the narrative is different. Each rise is a powerful megalithic elder holding the entire history of the earth right there in it's core but mono to human query. Their features change with more regularity than a Hollywood A-lister trying to reignite a dying career and every time you raise your head for a weather report they have a new story to tell. I can relate to that dense morning fog and mist as I stumble toward coffee and my cameras, and by lunchtime the day has risen with me. Fogs push back for a productive period and the sun even clocks in with a few rays of hope if you were in doubt about your place in the world, or at least your place in the village. 

I was undeniably moved by the terrain. It weighed on my mind as the altitude did on my cerebral fluids. I returned home and subscribed to National Geo image feeds, I watched mountaineering documentaries and endless GoPro'd ski videos, I was going to be the next great expeditionary hero! The people who work and play in these regions have a love affair with this lifestyle and I can truly see why that is. They're connected to and rely on a dependable cyclic type of nature to function day to day. They built modern enterprise that utilize and are symbiotic to their environment. Where structural impact is absolutely minimal and human experience is at it's maximum. It's that same elation and happiness you see on the faces of surfers after a session on the East Atlantic Waves. They found a temporary freedom from the noise, both audible and visual. A freedom I'm absolutely going to pursue until I can do no more.

The photos are a pick and mix. I couldn't find a comfortable post process and the light and colors changed so dramatically throughout the day that continuity is practically impossible if you want to show more than 3 images. But they were taken from my point of view, even if my astonishment withdrew my technique a bit along the way.

Hope you enjoy them nonetheless.