“I believe that nature is the greatest storyteller. In exploring the shared language and shared poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in balance with nature. The images depict a world that is without beginning or end, here or there, past or present.”
Exhibited for the first time over a decade ago, Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow is ever more powerful and humbling today. Colbert’s images, awaken poignant memories of a place we are almost certain we have been, but is non-existent today. His film and photography delicately capture the space between surreal serenity and the raw nature of man and animal.
The Canadian storyteller (b.1960) compares his camera to the elephant and his trunk. ”An elephant does not see his trunk as merely a nose. It is also his trumpet,” he says. For him, the camera is like a musical instrument played through the human eye.
From 1992, Ashes and Snow was a slow and intentional singular work which took Colbert from continent to continent in search for collaborations with hundreds of species. More than anything, his aim was to create a lasting impression, which would ultimately create awareness of this frail human – animal relationship we seem to have lost.
“In exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people saw themselves as part of nature and not outside of it. The destiny of whales cannot be separated from the destiny of man, and the destiny of man cannot be separated from the destiny of all of nature. I am exploring new narratives that help build a bridge across the artificial boundaries we have established between ourselves and other species.” – Gregory Colbert
Words by Khumoetsile Seamogano