The list is endless, but listed below in alphabetical order are links to some of the most heart-stopping mountain photographers, outdoor junkies, photographic mentors, and where I find my impetus.
Mountain Candy for Hungry Eyes
Based in Chamonix, or just 'Cham', France, Jonathan Griffith has climbed the world over and established himself as one of the most bad-ass mountain photographers. An accomplished alpinist himself, Jon continues to push himself to shoot what has never been shot before. This approach has taken his climbing to a level that previously saw him tied in with climbers such as Ueli Steck (the 'Swiss Machine' who perished on Nuptse in 2017) and embarking on cutting-edge ascents to visually document expeditions in the Alps, Patagonia, Alaska and the Himalayas. It is a method that puts authentic climbing at its heart—an increasingly rare but refreshing approach to adventure photography in a climate where style is valued more than substance. Jon is also available for tailored talks where he takes the listeners through the often epic and hilarious world of alpinism, showing film and photos that few have ever been able to take. From first ascents in the Himalayas, to the finding used toilet paper in his water bottle, and battling through storms in the Greater Ranges, Jon tries to find the humour in the sport coupled with jaw-dropping imagery and footage of people pushing themselves to their absolute limit. He has recently released a book called 'Alpine Exposures'—a collection of impeccable alpine imagery from hard-earned locations throughout the Western Alps infused with accounts of the true learning curve and expression of alpinism. From the Grandes Jorasses to the Aiguille Verte.
Ben Tibbetts is an adventure photographer, artist and IFMGA mountain guide based in Chamonix and the UK. He specialises in working in remote and cold environments. Having studied Fine Art to a postgraduate level he is obsessed with image-making in adventurously environments. He has spent nearly 2 years solid working in the Antarctic and over four months in Greenland. In Europe he is usually preoccupied with climbing new routes of all different styles and difficulty or looking for interesting lines to ski. Over the last few years he has been working on an epic project to climb and photograph the 82 highest peaks in the Alps for 'Alpenglow'—a large-format book of photographs, stories and drawings describing 'The Finest Climbs on the 4000m Peaks of the Alps'. He is also an accomplished ski-mountaineer, having made a single push 31hr traverse of the Haute Route (or the High Route or Mountaineers' Route), gained 3rd in the Patrouille des Glaciers (PDG), competed in the World Championships and many other ski events.
Christian Pondella. A senior photographer for Powder Magazine, a San Disk Extreme Team member, Fstop Global Pro, and Lululemon Elite Ambassador, he has published work in Sports Illustrated, ESPN Magazine, Outside, Men's Journal, Maxim, FHM, GQ, Climbing, Outdoor Photographer, Shutterbug, and a variety of other publications throughout the world. His images have also appeared in commercial campaigns for Red Bull, Patagonia, San Disk, Oakley, Atomic, Eddie Bauer, Clif Bar, and many other outdoor brands. One of the elements that makes Christian's work truly distinctive in a competitive field is his ability to get up close, personal, and often way, way out there with his subjects. An accomplished ice climber, rock climber, ski mountaineer and extreme athlete in his own right, he is always a fundamental part of the team on whatever adventure he is shooting—including having to move faster and carry significantly more weight than anyone else—giving him a unique and intimate perspective at the cutting edge of human endeavor. Not only does he have an eye for the shot, he can actually put himself where he needs to be to get it. A native of Los Angeles, California, Christian is as comfortable in the urban chaos of La Paz or Kathmandu as he is hanging from a 3000-foot granite wall in Yosemite. Best known for his iconic, award-winning images of skiing and climbing, he has also shot base-jumping, downhill mountain biking, motocross, wakeboarding and a variety of other adventure sports, as well as distinctive portraits and travel and lifestyle photography. When he is not sleeping in airports, eating sketchy street food and shooting stunning images in remote mountain ranges and other nausea-inducing no-fall zones, you will find him at home with his wife, Julie, and his commercial-grade espresso machine in Mammoth Lakes, California, in the wild and dramatic Eastern Sierra Nevada, or out shredding fresh powder with his four-year-old son, Blaise.
Jimmy Chin is a photographer, filmmaker, and mountain sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments. He began his professional career in 1999, and his talents were quickly recognized by top expedition leaders and outdoor brands. In 2002, he secured a breakthrough assignment to be the cinematographer for a high-profile National Geographic–sponsored trek across the Chang Tang Plateau. In 2006, he was part of the first American team to ski off the summit of Chomolungma—'the Mother Goddess of the Earth'. A longtime member of The North Face Athlete Team, he has joined dozens of exploratory expeditions and completed first ascents around the globe, working with the best adventure athletes in the world. Jimmy has garnered numerous photography awards from Photo District News (PDN), Communication Arts, the American Society of Magazine Editors, and others. As a filmmaker, his years of experience in the adventure and extreme sports world enables him to bring an authentic and unique perspective to his storytelling. Jimmy splits his time between New York City and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with his wife, filmmaker Chai Vasarhelyi, their daughter, Marina, and son, James.
Nic Alegre is fairly new to professional photography, but his innate talent has shot him up the ranks, and fast. Just a few years ago, he was one of those fancy people at a fancy desk in fancy Manhattan, doing fancy marketing and advertising. But all it took was three smartly-dressed years and Alegre was done. He and his desk weren't jiving. The latter wanted commitment, Alegre wanted adventure. He was over the cubicle in the room in the building on the street in the city. He wanted mountains. The mountains have intrigued Alegre since he was a kid. He grew up surfing in New York—apparently the state is more than just black clothing and shopping for black clothing—and while he loved the water, he felt a pull for more rugged terrain. That pull was put on the backburner until his mid-twenties, when Alegre plucked up enough courage to do what all good pioneers, I mean people, do and head West. He landed in Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe, where he spent the winter doing all the miserable activities you do in that hideous part of the world, like snowboarding, exploring the backcountry, and drinking beers by the lake. Meanwhile, Alegre's camera joined him everywhere. Alegre taps into athletes' emotions by putting them where they thrive. For some, that is cruising through snow-covered trees and sending it off pillows, and for others, it is standing atop cliffs, scoping out lines. It is in these happy places that you get that glow, and where Alegre can capture the rawness his photos are respected for. Alegre describes his style as dramatic, gritty, and low-key expressive. He won't stop until he has got the photo that speaks a thousand words without saying anything, and he finds that magic shot often comes at the end of the day when the subject is tired. In their fatigue, you find real feeling. He is focused on the future, with goals to just keep shooting new people in new places. He is thinking the South Pole and Patagonia, and he is also thinking about war-torn zones.
It ain't easy capturing mountain heroes… well, at least not for mere mortals. Enander makes it look easy, er, kinda.
Inspirational Artists and Respected Peers
Florian Ledoux is a wildlife photographer on a mission to witness, document and protect the fragile Arctic. His commitment to bringing meaningful images of these far-flung locations to audiences across the world has been recognised by the International for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He was named Drone Photographer of the Year 2018 (SIPA Festival) and won the Grand Prize Drone Photography 2017 (SkyPixel).
Joshua Holko is an assoc. AIPP. Moab Master, 66° North Expert, and landscape, nature and wilderness photographer.
Luigi Fieni has photographed landscapes, culture, and the artistic cultural heritage of the Himalaya since 1999, while working as a conservator of Tibetan art for a project funded by The American Himalayan Foundation. As his background is mostly painting, his work is constantly trying to merge photography with painting, experimenting on movement, blur and emotions, trying to produce photographs that are as pictorial as possible. His photographs are featured in books and magazines worldwide like 'Himalaya: personal stories of grandeur, challenge and hope' (National Geographic, 2006) and 'Wonders of Lo: The artistic Heritage of Mustang' (Mar, 2009) to mention a few. Solo and collective exhibitions have been held in America, Europe and Asia, and his work is part of private collections worldwide, counting prominent venues such as The Manggha Museum (Krakow, Poland) and The Contemporary Art Collection of the Vatican Museums (Vatican City). As a photographer, Fieni has collaborated with The National Geographic Society, The North Face, The Getty Images, The Mill Valley Film Group, Skydoor Productions, The American Himalayan Foundation, The Kham Aid Foundation, HPRC and Bauer Media. His work as a conservator of Tibetan art and his projects appeared in many major newspapers and magazines worldwide, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, The National Geographic Magazine, and Geo Magazine. Currently he is represented by The Art of Wild Gallery (Germany), PhotoEye Gallery (Santa Fe, USA), Streaming Art (The Hague, The Netherlands) and Pandora Gallery (Bangkok, Thailand). He works as a photographer, for Getty Images and The American Himalayan Foundation, and he devotes his time to photography, to painting and to the preservation of the Tibetan culture.
Martin Hartley has an impressive expedition Curriculum Vitae. He is a superb adventure travel photographer too…
Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist who has documented the beauty and the plight of our planet for over twenty years. As an assignment photographer for National Geographic Magazine, Nicklen captures the imagination of a global audience. Nicklen is uniquely qualified to create his brand of documentary photography which informs and creates an emotional connection with wild subjects in extreme conditions. His work delivers audiences to an underwater realm witnessed by few. Nicklen's sensitive and evocative imagery has garnered over 30 of the highest awards given to any photographer in his field, including the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the prestigious World Press Photo for Photojournalism. He is equally recognized by the conservation community for his outspoken work, and has been awarded the Natural Resources Defense Council BioGems Visionary Award. Most recently, Nicklen was bestowed an honorary PhD at the University of Victoria, for the impact his photography has had on climate change. In addition to being one of the most acclaimed nature photographers in the world, Nicklen is a sought-after speaker, a TED Talks legend, an author, and National Geographic Fellow. In the past two decades, Paul has collaborated with scientists, filmmakers, conservationists and explorers to create awareness and inspire action for global issues like climate change. As a co-founder of the non-profit, SeaLegacy, Paul Nicklen is opening a fresh, progressive chapter in the story of ocean conservation. Through visual storytelling, Sea Legacy inspires millions of people to stand up and have a voice for the pristine places threatened by climate change.