This is the time of year when Second Life – as I’ve mentioned before – is awash with winter landscape, and many of us are out and about photographing and filming them (you can expect a few more in these pages when I’ve caught up with myself 🙂 ). But what about images of real life winter scenes?
Nils Urqhart is currently exhibiting a series of his physical world photographs at the Serena Imagine Arts Centre under the title Un Conte d’Hiver (“A Winter’s Tale”) present some 29 (including the one in forming the entrance to the exhibit images of snow scenes captured in the Bugey region in eastern France, where it forms a part of the department of Ain. If, like me, you’re a Tour de France fan, you’ll recognise it as the home of the Col du Grand Colombier, one of the most punishing climbs of the tour.
The Col doesn’t feature in these images, however. Instead, what we are treated to are marvellous winter landscapes. Snow lies heavy and deep on the ground; it gives a frosted finish to trees and lies centimetres deep on rooftops and piled atop fence posts. Skies are overcast such that the horizon softens into them, the snow encouraging a gentle merger where in summer, green hills might will stand out sharply against blue skies.
Across this landscape, Nils has pictured rustic houses and barns and a beautiful church, all of which seem to huddling down against the snow and the cold, holding their heat and warmth tight within. Elsewhere, young people walk hand-in hand, stand on skis or throw snowballs, their bright coats contrasting loudly with the white snow surrounding them.
To call these images picturesque would be perhaps demeaning of them; they are quite stunning in their composition, so much so that one feels it is possible to step within them and scoop up the snow or leave fresh tracks across its pristine blanket. But there is something else here as well. Such is the refinement in these pictures, it feels they are further blurring the line between the physical and digital, as if some of them are of locations which can be found not only in Bugey, but also in Second Life. My only disappointment is that the space in which they are displayed really doesn’t do them the justice they deserve.
However, if you are looking for images of winter and snow of a different nature to those reflecting regions of Second Life, I recommend this exhibit. Be sure to find your way to the centre of the exhibition and Nils’ Christmas greeting.
- Un Conte d’Hiver (Serena Imagine Arts Centre, rated: Moderate)