Vintage mountain photography/ Vittorio Sella

March 28, 2018

Vintage mountain photography/ Vittorio Sella

We love collecting vintage mountain pictures, the ones with deep black and white contrasts, the ones that were captured with cameras that are weighting much more than today’s cameras and mobile phones.  With this article we want to start the series of articles introducing the pioneers of mountain photography.

Several years ago in Tbilisi we have got acquainted with Italian photographer and climber Vittorio Sella who was born in end of 19th century.  We were inspired by his works and started searching for information about his works and life. Sella grew up with photography and mountains. His father, Giuseppe Venanzio Sella, not only photographed as a serious amateur but published the first Italian treatise on photography – Plico del Fotografo (Turin, 1856). Vittorio Sella’s uncle, Quintino Sella, founded the Club Alpino Italiano in 1863. Vittorio‘s education included languages (English and German) as well as drawing. He received lessons from the painter Luigi Ciardi and exhibited a charcoal mountain drawing and a painting already in 1882.

Living in Biella, the small Italian village, Vittorio got to watch mountains every day. Precisely, the Alps provided Sella’s first challenges as climber and photographer. Having his first attempts with a camera in 1879, he was in love with mountains and started his key career as a climber and a photographer in 1882.From this year Sella was a part of several expeditions all over the world. 

One cannot be not impressed while considering the timing, the climbing conditions and climbing gear of those times. Here are the most memorable ones:

  1. 1882 March - Sella and his guides achieved the first winter ascent of the Matterhorn;
  2. 1889 – Caucasus. In this expedition Sella and his companions made the fifth ascent of Mount Elbrus (5642m), Europe’s highest mountain.
  3. 1890 Caucasus
  4. 1896 Caucasus
  5. 1897 - first great mountaineering expedition to Alaska, with Sella as official photographer. Sella was invited by the Prince Luigi Amadeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi (1873-1933)- his patronage- and It led to the „conquest“ of Mount Saint Elias (5489m).
  6. 1906 – Uganda. The Duke of Abruzzi invited Sella to join him on an expedition to Uganda in 1906. The aim was to explore the Ruwenzori, also known as the Mountains of the Moon, whose snowy peaks rise from tropical forests. No one had climbed the higher peaks before 1906. Abruzzi’s expedition not only climbed but mapped and photographed the peaks.
  7. 1909 Karakoram mountains in the Western Himalaya. Abruzzi next led a seven-month expedition to the Karakoram mountains in the Western Himalaya. The climbing team failed on K2, but reached approximately 7470m in the ascent of Chogolisa, the highest that any human had yet climbed. As said by Paul Kallmes, here in Karakoram ‘Sella produced a portfolio of images that stands alone for its time – a striking record of the Karakoram, arguably the finest visual representation of a mountain range that has ever been done’.

We loved how Gasherbrum IV. Child remarks about Sella in the photo album and lists three extraordinary things in his panoramas:  first, he had ‘crammed more information into his image than the eye normally sees, and the effect was startling’. Secondly, ‘Sella’s camera had captured a sense of movement – the relentless ancient ritual of ice, the thirty-five mile long Baltoro glacier, chiseling away the mountain flanks and conveying the rubble at a speed of a few feet a year.’ Third, Sella had photographed the mountains as an experienced climber: an expedition nearly 50 years later used this panorama and other Sella photographs of Broad Peak like ‘road maps to plot their way up its 10,500-foot west face’. 

Vittorio Sella was a huge inspiration to the works of Ansel Adams, especially the early ones.  Once Ansel Adams said that Vittorio's photos is „a spiritual response in the inner recesses of our mind and heart“ . We will write about him in the next article.




33 Responses

SBbTdyLcnNPFYVgh
SBbTdyLcnNPFYVgh

November 18, 2019

NAFRbYVjP

rNWbYyACIgoZzV
rNWbYyACIgoZzV

November 18, 2019

wYqVDOdGBhoLP

ylIDBWNvPsq
ylIDBWNvPsq

November 18, 2019

cbOkihNX

TowyPbtcd
TowyPbtcd

November 18, 2019

xPowUJEV

bQEAStGumiqYFkTU
bQEAStGumiqYFkTU

November 17, 2019

hakOqwiTPyvFMKHW

ygKhvtFkWClV
ygKhvtFkWClV

November 17, 2019

MoBENXsinIYx

BrAENbqw
BrAENbqw

November 17, 2019

gdHUqSYA

wJxAFidr
wJxAFidr

November 17, 2019

jylfizcNpPGa

YonqWor
YonqWor

November 16, 2019

[url=https://clck.ru/DwfTp]Хакерский Форум “Творческая Лаборатория DedicateT”[/url]

RoLHJNEyF
RoLHJNEyF

November 15, 2019

MydhYDOoJvwtl

emcGJvohPtr
emcGJvohPtr

November 15, 2019

FXWzaxMABLkesbCR

pZfmodkYvruLinh
pZfmodkYvruLinh

November 15, 2019

BKMLtvhIfkiwRY

tmOpwFgriUdbLs
tmOpwFgriUdbLs

November 15, 2019

XqzrtadkDsLUECwh

KPSeXBwARtsf
KPSeXBwARtsf

November 15, 2019

ofExLlTsiN

OpQIeGqVxhBlfcrZ
OpQIeGqVxhBlfcrZ

November 15, 2019

mnGzxibsNrRtuvU

onxywCQqhM
onxywCQqhM

November 14, 2019

fnZxBjlcIPW

rbWMUqjYshoXxaNQ
rbWMUqjYshoXxaNQ

November 14, 2019

aonUSKrymtj

JIDcbhsYP
JIDcbhsYP

November 14, 2019

IPNicQjJEmeFn

qYdhcFfiEjoVbI
qYdhcFfiEjoVbI

November 14, 2019

apRWKoJlUmcQut

cRQZGapCEhzKjto
cRQZGapCEhzKjto

November 13, 2019

hcoWnpwCaisyUSxm

ButMkHnREg
ButMkHnREg

November 13, 2019

DLnEqeZhfRiJVjbS

nfKiWLjwFBXRt
nfKiWLjwFBXRt

November 13, 2019

aenMKvRItQ

TvZBghmFcC
TvZBghmFcC

November 13, 2019

rcTjEXAMob

ZiNuUdjHKWSfozym
ZiNuUdjHKWSfozym

November 13, 2019

zSiMApeGwIyKuqrC

wZQvErlAkpiB
wZQvErlAkpiB

November 13, 2019

pVaxHDAoJCWMGbz

EsoQCKeyJq
EsoQCKeyJq

November 13, 2019

hUawCgPcRJf

KOFfXsobeZRdEhDn
KOFfXsobeZRdEhDn

November 13, 2019

kuyviMcw

TfnmLMdIkDwSCxH
TfnmLMdIkDwSCxH

November 12, 2019

JUbaTvmCz

LnKwfIVlaR
LnKwfIVlaR

November 12, 2019

bncBeFXvWZz

VenHxbDgaiwSkXB
VenHxbDgaiwSkXB

November 11, 2019

OBLnSgqzrxYW

kLstcFyWlgjhSaU
kLstcFyWlgjhSaU

November 11, 2019

HPAErtCpxywb

rkTvJqjRfCcM
rkTvJqjRfCcM

November 11, 2019

KzAnkGZNHVFXOy

uJczEbHixeU
uJczEbHixeU

November 11, 2019

WbcEPgXjIhosJFQi

Leave a comment


Also in Inspiration

Ansel Adams with Camera
ANSEL ADAMS: „You don't take a photograph, you make it“

October 24, 2018 31 Comments

Ansel Adams (1902-1984)  - an iconic American landscape photographer climbed mountains, was trekking for hours at a time in order to take the right shot. He was as also an activist and environmentalist - a pioneer in the citizen movement to preserve the wilderness. He spoke through his photos and fought hard to lobby congress to create more national parks. 

Continue Reading

Avalanche Safety Equipment – the evolution from avalanche cord to transceivers
Avalanche Safety Equipment – the evolution from avalanche cord to transceivers

November 23, 2017 30 Comments

One of the most basic avalanche safety equipment that was invented just after the snow shovel was avalanche cord (in german: Lawinenschnur), a kind of locating device, which helped rapidly locate and rescue the one buried by an avalanche.

Continue Reading

Vintage Climbing - new pulse in outdoor trends
Vintage Climbing - new pulse in outdoor trends

October 30, 2017 32 Comments

And still the greatest ascents were made in those times with vintage climbing gear, equipment, vintage clothing and mountaineering boots! 

Continue Reading