There is a country
of wild and untamed nature.
There, the rivers are still allowed to find their natural flow without artificial barriers.
The rivers teach us…
…that even the most winding paths,
full of changes of direction,
wrong ways and dead ends,
at the end always find their way to the destination .
Creeks and streams are drawing almost endless,
constantly changing ornaments into the landscape,
making a mockery of our striving for straightforward efficiency.
They tell the story of a force that does not accept obstacles
and that playfully finds its way in any situation .
When I photographed for my first dedicated arctic aerial photography portfolio in 2016, the meandering meltwater flows on the Greenland Icecap were among my central subjects. When I discovered some particularly aesthetical lines, the association of the "calligraphy of nature" suddenly arose in me.
I wondered whether such rivers also exist on solid ground - and when I returned, I began inspecting the streams and rivers in the vicinity of my place of residence. But with a few exceptions, I virtually found no unspoilt rivers. Long ago, river straightening had left its unmistakable mark almost everywhere. Meanders take up a lot of space and form peninsulas that are difficult to use for agriculture.
Since the visual concept kept me going, I started to study maps and satellite images. After some search I came across two adjacent areas in Siberia, which seemed to offer optimal conditions for my ideas: the "Altai Region", which encompasses the southeastern foothills of the West Siberian Plain - and the Altai Republic, which includes the Russian part of the eponymous high mountains.
In those sparsely populated natural areas on the one hand there is plenty of space so that there is no need for river straightening - furthermore, the plain is very flat and even the valleys of the Altai Mountains are so well filled with sediment that the gradient of the rivers is very low - which in turn abets the development of meanders.
Neither locals nor Russian travellers from my circle of acquaintances could tell me whether the subjects I had in mind really could be found. Therefore I started my first journey in September 2017, which led me to the Altai Region to the search for this world of motifs, which at that time were absolutely speculative to me.
But I should not be disappointed. In spite of the fact that for the first trip to a demanding destination I had learn some things the hard way, I have been able to take the pictures I had dreamed of - and even some more. The bold vision had turned into a project.
Taking the experience gained in the previous year into account, this project was continued in September 2018.
The photo collection was rounded off in width as well as deepened in various details.