Not updated since 2015.
my instagram <-link
routeography <-Link to a list of some good classic runs i skied
500 pix gallery <- link
Photography was always a hobby. Argentique was too pricey , until 2010, DSLR were out of reach. Now it is all affordable. Since 2012 I focused on getting good glass and progress into that technique. I love the challenge and try to take timeless images, being more interested in ‘imperfect’ photography – images that are suggestive and can open a discussion – than obvious or contrived outdoor studio shots. I like it dirty, spontaneous and vulnerable.
I’am a snow shooter. In my first 4 years being the photographer, i watched 2 friends die, survived one brutal ski accident , lost 10 good friends/mentors/inspiring people . I made some of the most beautiful powder turns ever, I skied a few steep skiing test pieces, I went heliskiing and travelled in a few ski paradise, scored a few timeless beautiful shots , i was published a few times and in that period Steep skiing/ski alpinism/freeriding went from being a fringe activity to a full blown main stream culture and sport with the rise of social medias and the industry taking it over. The amount of people, highly trained alpinists and skiers, strong enough to tackle 5.4 or 5.5 runs has multiplied by 100. Runs that used to get skied once every 3 year now have line of people as soon as it is good… Brands are now sponsoring many people for social media content, many ski bums with the right amount of “followers” are now self proclaimed “pro” skier-photographer-filmer-writer-philospophe-mag editor via instagram-blog-youtube-facebook, everyone makes the headlines everyday, on the best run, in the best town, having the best day in the best snow, the steepest run. The cult of self. The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. Go pro. ski Photography-ski magazines-ski Books all replaced by instant reality content . This is the Kardashian era. My personal mission to document skibuming in chamonix now seems pointless. My perspective on skiing, steep skiing, the ski community , the industry , photography has shifted greatly. Today , more and more, the ski culture on all media looks like a Ikea store: corporate . Perfectly clean and tidy, sterilized, normalized, hype. The reasons which brought me into skiing have vanished replaced by the reasons why i escaped east hollywood: gentrification-domestication or something like that. When i started this blog and photos in 2012, it was to document that fascinating obscure underground creative intricate spontaneous “freeriders on steeps” community mostly in Chamonix. Since, that community traded the emotionally heretic disordered poetic expression for the technical cold ultra light gear-carbon-time A to B-how many verts/day -angles/airbag and whowhat blah blah- orderly talk , mostly conservative corporate oil industry-boy scouts on a very expensive pee contest in an exotic location selling plastic. Cheap rep for the oil industry…this is now a ibiza/coachella hipster crowd of well groomed polite super disciplined , trained , formatted skiers -alpinists or other athletes. It isn’t some vulnerable social reject who some how got to the top of the Diable couloir and trashed it on ski but a fully trained privileged alpinist who checked his ascent time at the top and is streaming his descent live on social media. Talent is measured with instagram followers amount. I don’t recognize myself in that community anymore or at least not right now in cham… I am trying to find that lost authenticity and honesty in wild life photography. Or i am just changing my focus for a minute…
I also can’t deny my aging and social awkwardness/introversion, (yes, if a corporation would give me $10K for every post on instagram , i’d be part of that crowd too 😉 ) I never know what to say to a marketing directors or other magazine photo editors and they never know what to say to me. This translate into never getting paid for my photos or services . I suck at marketing my work or getting paid for it. My images were used by hundreds platforms, many athletes , many mainstream magazines , many huge brands/corporations without ever getting paid a fair amount or anything at all. I therefore have to work hotel clerk jobs or other sport shop and can’t afford gear update . Past 40 years old it is getting harder and harder to stay in shape whilst working a 9 to 5- 5 days a week job . Sadly , this also played a lot in my switching of focus.
my favorite outdoor photographer/filmer is jordan manley. He inspires me. He is among the rare who havent sold out too much to the industry. He hasn’t vulgarized the outdoor sports scene to make it available to the mainstream-hashtaggers- hipsters-gaga-crowd epic-tv style. His pictures and film have character and substance. Manley’s films are not just adds aimed to go viral on the internet but more a real immersion…
One of my favorite ski shot is from oskar enander <- link
My main influence in ski photography is Christian Pondella , his images are the athlete’s perspective, instead of the spectators view. One of the few ski photographers who do that.
I find Reuben Krabbe very annoying because his style is fresh and a style i aspire to.
My favorite chamonix gopro and drone and creative flicks:
DIE ANTWOORD ” NO ONE CARES YOU’RE PRO ! “
I like that video too. inspiring: rice on ice
My favorite climbing movie (which shows a bit of the domestication-gentrification of climbing similar to freeride/steepskiing) is valley uprising
Hedonist, I was born in st Julien en genevois (very close to chamonix). I never lived there. i grew up in Reims -> I had my biberon with champagne. I got fashionable in Paris (B.S biology, blanche Salant/paul weaver art school). I lived and partied like a hypster in London (lee strasberg institute school). A small Detox in and around Zimbabwe then I splurged like a jet setter in New york (actor studio) became a desert bratt in L.A (lee strasberg institute ) until i hit the road, the 395 , to the east side (sierra nevada california). that is where i become a skier, maybe more of a skibum dwelling in a van. Very little expenses allowed me to work less for a lot more leisures . Going up and downs the mountains along the 395 highway, natural hot tubs, desert parties . leisure class. For 5 years , i cozied up within this local authentic ski bum community where the top skiers shared their love for backcountry skiing and showed me around the sierra. This is where i fell in love with skiing and its community. This is the closest to freedom i ever got . After testing myself on a good amount of the sierra steeps my van house broke down which was a sign for me to fly to Cham. I’ve been In cham since 2005.
Thru my life I worked in many fields: tourism, post production (editing) , production, acting, movie extras, modeling, music and now photography . I would like to call myself a “photographer” but comparing myself to Roger Ballen, steve mc curry Luis dos Santos, joeyl, robin Or corbijn is a little lofty ..Im a photojournalist maybe. An adventurer surely. Documenting, Witnessing is what i do. The term photography or photographer is overused by every monkeys with a dslr and a website, i find it pompous and cheesy.
Photo is really what keeps me skiing. I enjoy the spontaneity , the hunt and the purpose. I enjoy traveling a camera in hand , finding new backdrops with new culture. I enjoy capturing raw lifestyle pictures … the skibum community is progressively becoming very corporate , uniformed , formatted , saying the same things. Sharing the same POV and selfies over and over again. Corporate telletubies . It lacks the spontaneity i am searching for.
Link to: The gear i use, used.
here below are a few shots of me skiing. most taken by Luca pandolfi. who used to be my main partner in crime. Make sure you click on the link so he sees people visited his site form here. that will make him happy. He is Italian, it’s better if he is happy.
Mont Blanc West Face 29-05-09 from Stéphane Shaw on Vimeo.
“A man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.” -HST, 1958
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