I have been a landscape photographer on the weekends for two years now while working as a store manager during the week. I travel the mountains in the least lenient weather looking for something tormented and a platonic concept.
All it took was to camp alone during the winter on the crest of a mountain to realize that these conditions were made for me. Since then I have been hiking all over the mountains. Now I'm looking for other visually interesting places elsewhere in France and abroad.
Words and photos by Kevin Meynier
I photograph a mountain the same way one makes a portrait. I'm very intimate with a single peak. It is also a criterion of choice for my images: "have a nice mouth" and then I dress it with the weather, such as light and clouds.
My photos start with a big search for the perfect spot. I study the topography to find the ideal camping spot for the views I'm looking for. I also figure out where the sun will be at different times of the day. I rely on satellite animation to monitor the weather in real-time until the last moment before leaving. These two points are very important to get the result I seek. Knowing that I work mainly with a telephoto lens, the calculation of distance between me and the peak that I want to shoot is important.
Once this phase is finished, I start the climb with my f-stop Sukha backpack. It keeps my equipment ready and easily accessible in case of unexpected shooting opportunites, and there always are! Once I am at the top of the climb, I take out my equipment, so I'm ready. The turbulent weather makes the landscape change very quickly. Usually the perfect vision appears for only a few seconds.
I can spend hours waiting for the perfect moment, which sometimes does not occur. But when it does, it can be sudden and spectacular. How quickly I can respond makes all the difference. Having the right clothing and equipment helps with my response time. When it comes time to shoot I really like to watch the big cloud masses wrap around these stone peaks, like an aerial ballet. I often see it as a platonic relationship for the sake of the Earth and the sky - purely in the mind, creating a sort of idealistic dream. All these things give a painted quality to the landscape, as if I were drawing an unreal portrait of this mountain, showing an image of itself, both unique and bewitching.