1972 - 2001 (analog)
2006 - today (digital)
Greta GUNTERN-GALLATI's life and work form an inseparable unity evolving within a network of relationships of which Gottlieb, her husband, is the most important part. For many years, their lives and works have been interwoven in a tapestry that has never stopped progressing.
Here is what the artist has to say about her trail.
Some 25 years ago, I started shooting photos in black and white while traveling in the world or hiking in the nearby mountains.
|CIRCLE OF TIME, 1987|
"Circle of Time" was my first really good shot. It kindled my passion for photography. This picture has remained my favorite of those early times. It was taken on the Belalp near the Aletsch glacier above Naters and Brig, the latter our hometown. On this particular day the weather was heavy with 'foehn', a meteorological phenomenon (warm wind) frequent in Valais impacting man and beast in a negative way. Similar to other wind phenomena - for instance, the 'sirocco' in Italy, the 'mistral' in France, the 'khamsin' in Northern Africa, the 'Chinook' in the Rocky Mountains and the 'Santa-Ana' in Southern California - the 'foehn' makes man and beast irritable. People under the influence of foehn complain about lack of concentration, incapacity to think clearly, lack of imagination and intuition, oversensitivity, irritability, dysphoria or even depression, disturbed sleep and headache.
At such a day Gottlieb and I were resting at the foot of a steep slope when all of a sudden a cow emerged on the edge of the hilltop nervously swaying her massive body to and fro and beating her rump with her tail. Against the backdrop of the clouded sky she looked like a living sculpture wildly fending off horseflies. From time to time she would stop her frantic movements and paw the air with her front hoof as if probing the distance between her and the strange creature with a black box that kept creeping nearer on the steep slope below her. As terrified as I was hypnotized by this giant female, I approached her slowly and cautiously, clinging to tufts of dry grass while Gottlieb supported me from behind, reassuring me again and again that everything was alright. "No danger at all", he kept repeating. Yet I imagined myself being crushed under tons of flesh tumbling down over the edge.
Eventually, my position seemed right for the magnificent lady's portrait.
By now the old lady must be grazing in the lush pastures of Eden. Her portrait, however, has survived, bearing witness to a mother whose womb must have given life to many an offspring.
In 2007 a new digital photo camera caught my eye. I had been waiting for this wonderful invention. It allowed me to shoot fast, without long intervals between each photo, and with high resolution. The digital camera has become my steady companion.
You are kindly invited to follow my trail and share my passion for nature's sublime creations.
|SNUGGLED UP, 2007|
Stone Pines – Guardians of an Enchanted World
About 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period, the seeds of Stone Pines migrated from Siberia and Manchuria. They crossed the Eurasian continent, sowing their vital capacity on their trails through the Carpathian Mountains, from what is now Serbia and Rumania to Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria. Reaching the Swiss Alps, the most enduring trekkers climbed to an altitude of almost 3,000 meters, a region ecologists have baptized "fight zone" or "death zone."
Great fighters and survival artists, they are. In the course of time the strongest stone pines have withstood the fiercest storms, gales and even lightning. Their trunks split and scorched, their branches bent and broken, the trees’ deep wounds gradually healed into scars that have come to shape their very personal and distinct features. Neither rock-falls nor landslides could eliminate the Stone Pines; nor could the harsh alpine climate with winter temperatures as drastic as 50 below freezing and summers sizzling at up to 40 degrees Celsius.
And here they are, firmly rooted in our soil, these majestic carvings, these alpine Bonsais, up to a thousand years old, emanating their secret power and awe-inspiring dignity.