Among the defining moments of man conquering his environment was the twin innovations of the harnessing of electricity and the creation of the light bulb. These two colossal milestones exponentially ushered in a new era that would be defined by rapid, if not blinding rates of development. Nightfall would no longer be a hindrance to mankind, and the practical 24 hour day was born. Over a century later, to see a night landscape artificially lit still stirs feelings of wonder and amazement.
Canadian photographer Thomas Kneubühler’s series called Electric Mountains more than illustrates that imagery. In the collection, Kneubühler depicts some breathtaking mountain ranges taken from a ski resort in Quebec. The title of Electric Mountains alludes to its unique theme of showing these beautiful snow covered landscapes set against equally dramatic visuals of lighted patches denoting human presence.
It is a brilliant rendition of the harmony between wildlife and transformed spaces made comfortable and practical for habitation. Kneubühler’s Electric Mountains attracts attention by capturing the striking illumination of Quebec ski resorts in photos that can be symbolically viewed from picturesque, to thought provoking.
Electric Mountains connects and speaks on many levels, very much like trick images with dual meanings. The photographs from this series glow with a magical aura, seen from a distance far removed from the details. We are treated to this enchanting visual of an apparition-like radiance that seems to come out literally from nowhere.
Having grown up in the Swiss Alps, this is familiar topography for Kneubühler. A marked difference in these recreational destinations is the visual punctuation with intense lights. As he writes in his artist statement, “When I first came to Canada, I remember driving on the highway passing a mountain full of lights. It looked to me like a surreal landscape, almost like an installation or land-art project…I was stunned.”
See the dramatic images of Electric Mountains at Kneubühler’s website.