I have been a climbing photographer for many years now. I have shot with some of the best athletes in the world and I know that the easiest way is usually not the most successful one.
My idea was to take Mammut’s pro team of climbers out of their usual environment and show the athletes performing in a surreal setting. For the shoot with Austria’s boulder ace Anna Stöhr, I chose a car dump. On the one hand, the piles of wrecked cars vaguely resemble the boulder blocks Anna usually climbs – on the other hand, the trashy, metallic objects perfectly contrast with Anna’s youth, power and vitality.
Many of the possible handholds were too sharp or too greasy to use safely, and some of the car piles were not stable enough to climb. World champion Anna Stöhr had to make her way over dozens of old cars and do countless pull-ups before we found the right spot for this photo. But both Anna and me stayed true to our motto: never ever give up!
However, the shot does not show all the effort that was necessary to get to this final point. My thanks go out to advertisement agency Perger & Berger, who helped me visualize my ideas with beautiful storyboards. The next step was to search for the perfect location and obtain permission from the owner to shoot at some very unusual places. It took me more than a year to turn my imagination into an image. But I think it was worth the effort!