The Beauty that is Nature – Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow

“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.”

Gregory Colbert

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.

Girl Gone Authentic - Ashes and Snow - Gregory Colbert - Boy monks elephant
Girl Gone Authentic - Ashes and Snow - Gregory Colbert - Girl and Elephant
Girl Gone Authentic - Ashes and Snow - Gregory Colbert - Khoi san granma
Girl Gone Authentic - Ashes and Snow - Gregory Colbert - Girl and leopard

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.

Girl Gone Authentic - Ashes and Snow - Gregory Colbert - Girl and lynx
Girl Gone Authentic - Ashes and Snow - Gregory Colbert - mother and leopards

Words by Khumoetsile Seamogano

Images by Gregory Colbert

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