Through the love of skiing : British Columbia by Sølve Sundsbø

In the bounds of Fashion Eye, a collection of books of photographs edited by the leather goods and ready to wear clothing brand, Louis Vuitton, the Norwegian photographer Sølve Sundsbø has put together a series of forty-one images taken during thirteen different trips to the massif of Selkirk in British-Columbia. A book of mysterious and magical images, as if nature allowed us to to listen to some secret music.
It is sufficiently rare to to learn about the inverse of skiing through the eye of a photographer who specialises in the feminine universe and makes us interested in it, but when the aforementioned photographer overlaps Black Crows with frequenting London’s roving skiing aristocracy it tickles our curiosity. Sølve agreed to answer a few questions and allowed us to publish a preview of this masterpiece as well as a few photographs of his work in the world of fashion.

HyperFocal: 0

Black Crows : Coming from a skiing country, what type of ski did you do and how important was skiing in your family ?

Sølve : I started crosscountryskiing when I was 15 months old. In Norway skiing, especially if you live in the country side,is very common. Cross-country skiing was the name of the game when I was young, and still is for most. Alpine skiing was always a small sport compared to the Nordic disciplines. Ski jumping, cross country and Biathlon was the “REAL” skiing.

Its quite ironic considering Slalom is a Norwegian word to start with; from slad (sloping) + lom (path). The ski turn we do today is the Christiania turn (old name of the current capital Oslo), it replaced the Telemark turn ( a county in Norway).

Black Crows : Apparently, you were doing competition, in which discipline and why did you stop ?

Sølve : I competed in cross-country skiing until early teenage years and then I stopped completely. The only cross-country I did after that was with friends in the mountains far away from any conventional tracks. At that point I had become seriously interested in alpine skiing but never in any competitive way; just “recreational” and never with any formal training.

Knut Bentzen

Black Crows : Concerning photography, how did you start photography and how did you become a fashion photographer ? Was it something you were looking up to ?

Sølve : One of the triggers for my career was going to concerts and to go skiing. We would always bring a camera and take pictures of jumps or silly things we would find. We read “Åka skidor” and “Powder” magazine and dreamt big. With snow being white, your subject jumps out against you. At concerts your subject appears out of the darkness. I think this reductionist way of creating images appealed to me and has in many ways stayed with me ever since.

Black Crows : What is the link between the young skier from a remote place in Norway and the fashion photographer that goes around the world ?

Sølve : I am not sure if I would ever have started taking pictures if it wasn’t for the ski magazines and the amazing photographers that worked for them. I dreamed of skiing and that dream was fed by photography.

Sølve Sundsbø

Black Crows : Do you find inspiration in skiing or mountains for your creative work ?

Sølve : Yes, I do. All nature inspires me. Whether it’s mountains or marine micro organisms. Nature’s creativity is almost endless. Skiing clears my mind and nature fills it.

Black Crows : Did you build this book for this project or was it already in process ?

Sølve : The book was based on several years of images taken for no other purpose than for my own curiosity and pleasure. I use a small pocket camera and my images are taken either on the way up, the top or right at the bottom of the mountain. In between, I mostly ski and don’t take that many pictures.

When I started talking to the editor and the publishers, I searched through my Archive and we ended up taking an abstract, minimal approach to the pictures we settled on. A very small human presence seemed to be the right emphasis. The result looks very much like a place where there should be no people. Another planet, almost.

Sølve Sundsbø

Black Crows : Do you usually take pictures when you go skiing ?

Sølve : I always bring a camera. Now it is mostly for the benefit of the children.

Black Crows : How do you see the job of a skiing photographer ?

Sølve : I admire the photographers that have made it their job to work with skiers. Tough job for tough people. The weight of the gear, the conditions etc etc. But I guess I have chosen to do it in a different, more personal way.

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