An Interview with Isabelle Bacher by Beata Moore

Mountain Olstind / Lofoten NORWAY by Isabelle Bacher

As an Austrian with Norwegian roots, Isabelle Bacher decided in 2013 to settle in Northern Norway (Arctic) for five years. Her profession as an architect enabled her to be geographically flexible and to live her passion the landscape photography. The immensity of the lonely fjords, the aesthetic glaciers, the majestic mountains and the breath-taking light of the Far North are the content of her works. It fascinates her to visualize the architecture and forms that nature created from the Ice Age to our time. Her photographs have been shown in exhibitions in Norway, Austria, France, Italy and the UK, as well as in international photography magazines. She is an award-winning photographer and currently finished the photography book “Im Norden”, which is on the market since October 2019. 

1. What was your path to become a photographer? 
I discovered the medium of photography through my father. I started taking analog photographs at the age of 12... and loved and still love the experience in the darkroom. I became serious about photography when I got my first digital camera in 2000 from my father when I started studying architecture. Since then, photography has always been present in my life. I love the process of taking landscape photographs... staying in the area of a spectacular landscape, seascape, mountain, rock; finding the right spot and angle. I love to take architecture photographs, making a clean composition, playing with lines, symmetries, patterns and reflections and to make my focus at the geometry and surface. And I love taking portraits. Photography is my passion.

2. Do you prefer to photograph close to home or do you find faraway places more inspiring? Are there any special places that inspire you the most to create new work? 
My heart beats north of the Arctic Circle. The immensity of the lonely fjords, the aesthetic glaciers, the majestic mountains and the breathtaking light of the Far North are my passion. The challenge to photograph in the Arctic is the cold weather throughout the year round. Snowstorms with whiteouts, heavy wind and storms, darkness most of the day and nighttime, frozen roads and much more can make photography quite difficult. You really need the right equipment and clothing to photograph in the Arctic – but for me it offers unsurpassed beauty in return.

3. Terra Quantum displays themes and series portfolios; do you like working to the project/series/theme or find creating individual images more rewarding? 
My passion is photography, so I like to work on projects, series, single pictures :-)... at the moment I also really like to work with architecture photography.

4. Can you tell us a bit more about one chosen photograph – what is the story behind it, when/why/how it was created? 
During all seasons of the year, between the midnight sun and the icy polar nights, I visited the sandy beach Bleik, with a view on the island of Bleikøya in Vesterålen, Norway. The small island, the lonely sandy beach and the surrounding nature with its bizarre rock formations and mountains fascinates me. In February 2017, in a starry, unforgettable full moon night during the dark season, the Northern Lights danced for several hours over the mountains and from midnight over the small island. It was a magical experience. 

5. Colour, b&w or both? How do you decide about the elimination or inclusion of colour and why. When do you decide about it - in the field or during the post processing? 
I like both … colour and monochrome. Often I'm already deciding on the ground how the picture will look when its finished. 

6. Do you find printing your images yourself as an integral part of image creation or do you use professional labs? How important is the choice of paper for you? 
I have the pictures printed exclusively from professional laboratories. I tried a lot and found suitable laboratories for me. I prefer to print my pictures on different Hahnemühle papers, but also brushed aluminum fits a part of my pictures. 

7. Do you think that social media is killing photography or playing an important role in promoting your work? How involved are you in your online presence? 
Personally, I see the online presence as an advantage. It is a nice way to present my works internationally for free. 

8. Do you have any plans for exhibitions, books or any interesting projects coming? Can you tell us a bit more about your artistic plans for the next couple of years? 
In October 2019 I completed the book IM NORDEN with RED BULL MEDIA HOUSE and BENEVENTO PUBLISHING. I can well imagine doing another book project. The illustrated book contains a large part of my photographic works from the Arctic and tells my story and general information from the Arctic. In the summer I had a photo exhibition at the “Hardangervidda National Park Center” in Norway and since February a small exhibition in Innichen/ Italy. I've long stopped planning ... especially in times like this. I'm curious to see what will happen in the future. 

9. We are living on the most beautiful planet, yet it is over-burdened and over-polluted. As photography is an influential medium, do you use the power of your photographs to promote our Earth appreciation and environmental awareness? Any thoughts how photographers in general can become more involved in this important matter? 
Unfortunately, I am not working enough in this direction. I live sustainably and respectfully towards the planet and future generations... but of course there is much more that could be contributed.  

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