Pionieers of Skiing Photography

Emanuel Gyger, Arnold Klopfenstein

The exhibition is the first ever to pay tribute to the most important pioneering œuvre in skiing photography. Swiss photographers Emanuel Gyger (1886–1951) and Arnold Klopfenstein (1896–1961) were masters at directing the interplay of light and shadow and using back lighting to dramatic effect. They perfected techniques for capturing dynamic movements and bringing them to life in still photos. Their unique style was due in part to the fact that Gyger was blind in one eye: as if through a camera’s viewfinder, he always saw the world in two dimensions.

In the Bernese Oberland, far away from centres of photography and winter sports, the duo created icons of the early free ride movement. Skiing in the 1920s and 30s was a sense of vitality, a frame of mind, an expression of individuality and self-fulfilment, the very zeitgeist epitomized by the thrill of speed, the elegance of body control, and technical precision.

It is this, which the meticulously compiled selection of photographs from the Müller-Jentsch Collection now highlights in a salon exhibition – and, too, the aesthetic qualities of early black-and-white photography.