The Art and Sport of Alpine Photography. [Pioneer-Publication of Mountain Photography]. Described and Illustrated with One Hundred and Fifty-Five Photographs.
London, H. F. Witherby, 1927. 15 cm x 22.5 cm. Frontispiece, XVI, 224 pages. 150 illustrations. Hardcover [publisher’s original green cloth] with gilt lettering on spine and front board. Small gilt design on front board. Gilt top edge. Deckled edges. With tissue guard. Very good, rather excellent condition with only minor signs of shelfwear. Some untrimmed pages near front.
Includes, for example, the following: On Composition and Foregrounds / Weather Lighting and Seasons / Mountain Portraits etc.
″The text has been written very closely round the illustrations, and is intended to indicate the best methods of attaining the most adequate representations of the natural scenes which have aroused in me such intense delight, and even those who have never wielded a camera may find some interest in studying nature from a slightly different angle. To look at the hills with the eye of the photographer is the next best thing to studying them with the eye of a painter. We cannot all learn to draw, but we can most of us learn to use our eyes more and more, and the camera may help us to do so, while the concentration on particular scenes suitable for our purpose will reveal fresh beauties which we might never have noticed without it. The loveliest effects of nature are as elusive as the most timid bird or beast, and the hunt after them, with a view to recording them as adequately as possible under the circumstances, will be found to provide good sport as climbing, hunting or fishing. It is therefore claimed that those who follow up the suggestions made in these pages, or strike out a similar line for themselves, will find that they have added a new interest to life, and a new inspiration to lead them into closer touch with nature and fuller appreciation of her noblest aspects.” (p.v-vi)
The book is as much an ode to the mountains as a technical guide to mountain photography.
″The ascent of difficult peaks, the pitting of one’s strength against the powers of nature, brings out many of the noblest qualities – resource, endurance, caution, determination and intrepidity – but is not suitable for everyone. Those who have not the physique or nerve for this most strenuous form of sport, those to whom advancing years forbid too violent exercise, may find a pleasant if less exciting alternative in the sport of mountain photography. It will be found to add an interest to every walk among the mountains; it will train the eye to find out beauty and grandeur wherever they can best be appreciated.” (p.19)
″The true mountain-lover does not confine his attention to the mountain-tops. He loves to explore the valleys as well as the ridges, and a stroll through woodland glade, or over flowery alp, is often more enjoyable than a scramble over naked rock or slippery ice. Great mountains are best appreciated when they can be seen as a whole, and their scale is usually best realised from a position about half their height on the opposite side of the valley. It is, no doubt, necessary to penetrate into the higher regions of the ice-world in order to search out the majesty of desolation and feel the sublime glory of nature’s retreats. It is good now and then to undertake the fatigue of a climb to some lonely summit, and commune with the clouds of heaven, or gaze down at the world spread at our feet. But the overwhelming magnificence of such an experience should not blind our eyes to the sweeter and gentler beauties of upland valley or tree-girt lake.” (p.22-23)
Gardner’s chapter on Mountain Portraits, accompanied by beautiful photographs of the iconic Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, leave the reader with the distinct impression that mountains’ capricious moods and personalities can be captured with the lens and patience of the photographer.