Mountainfilm: Colorblind Ski Photographer Featured

Mountainfilm: Colorblind Ski Photographer Featured

The line-up for the 41st annual gathering of the tribe known as Mountainfilm takes place in Telluride over Memorial Weekend and this year features guest director Cheryl Strayed with a very special guest, plus Sir Chris Bonington, Hilaree Nelson, Erin Parisi and top Obama aid Ben Rhodes.

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Passes/tickets to the 41st annual Mountainfilm are on sale now.

Oskar Enander is an award-winning photographer whose work will be on display at Mountainfilm. A short about his life is also featured. Scroll down to learn more about Enander from his email interview.

Oskar Enander featured at Mountainfilm 2019.

The Baroque artist Caravaggio is revered for his unique style of tenebrism or chiaroscuro, the intense use of strong contrasts between light and dark to create bold contrasts in his work. Caravaggio’s signature style influenced the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens and Ribera all the way up to now and filmmakers like Martin Scorsese.

Widely considered one of the most accomplished ski photographers in the world, Oskar Enander has also built his considerable reputation as a master of chiaroscuro and the interplay of light and shadow.

Enander is known to wait for the moment the sun’s position on the horizon allows light and dark to align perfectly, then he shoots award-winning, starkly dramatic images of elite athletes dwarfed by a landscape of majestic mountains in black-and-white and color – although he sees all colors as blue.

Because Oskar Enander has a slightly a different outlook on the world than most people – and certainly most photographers. He is colorblind.

Enander is a guest artist at the 41st annual Mountainfilm, where his work will be on display over Memorial Weekend in Telluride. A film about the photographer is also part of director Suzan Beraza’s program.

Image, Oskar Enander


Image, Oskar Enander


“After a hot summer with a lot of melting, this ice cave opened up big enough last season to ski through. Getting this shot of Santiago was my first and last time in it. This summer it caved in and is there no more.” — Oskar Enander

Enander grew up in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden, but his family is now based out of Engelberg in Switzerland. His passion for the mountains brought him to Switzerland in 2002, when his career began.

Although Enander’s primary focus is skiing and snowboarding, he loves the mountains in the summer too: images of biking, hiking and trail-running are also part of his extensive portfolio.

Enander works with numerous magazines worldwide, as well as with major outdoor brands including Patagonia, Peak Performance, Scott, Outdoor Research, and DPS Skis to name a few.

Career highlights include being awarded three times by Powder Magazine for “Photo of the Year.” He was a Red Bull Illume finalist in 2010; IF3 “Best European Ski Photographer” in 2013 ;and a WSSF Pro Photographer Showdown finalist.

But Enander never really planned to become a ski photographer. He started out his adult life as a ski bum, then fell in love with what he was seeing in the mountains, picked a camera, and the rest is history.

“…A year after we first met, we shared a ratty truck camper for three nearly shower-less months traveling through the Yukon and Alaska, a trip that started seven years of snow-machine and touring-based ski adventures in Haines, AK. Those trips have been marked by many back-breaking, 14-hour days exploring mountains, with more climbing, lifting and digging out sleds than actual skiing. Those days speak to Oskar’s commitment to the bigger picture; the adventure and satisfaction that comes while enduring tortuous conditions in sublime, wild places, even at the expense of one’s work. But when the camera comes out, it’s ‘110 percent business time,”’as he likes to say. He’s the most commanding force on any photo shoot; he leads line choice and coordinates guides, all while directing and teaching other filmers,” wrote Stephan Drake, friend and founder, DPS Skis.

To learn more, check out Endander’s email interview.

1. Oskar, when and how did you learn you were colorblind and did that make any difference to your life at the time?

I got to know I was colorblind when I was a kid and my mom noticed that I mixed up the colors while drawing and painting, but it didn’t bother me at all.

2. Given your challenge with color, when and why were you drawn into a profession that generally relies on the ability to see color in the world? In short, why did you choose to become a photographer? Or did photography choose you?

The colorblindness has never been an issue for me so getting into photography wasn’t a challenge in that way. I got in to photography because I was drawn to the mountains as a passionate skier and wanted to capture skiing and mountain activity. It started as a hobby, but fairly quickly became something I wanted to do full time, the only problem was to make enough money to live off it and that took a few hard years.

3. Was ski photography your first and only profession?

I did plenty of odd jobs to support my travels around the world skiing or backpacking before photography became a profession. I started engineering studies at the university, but realized after a while that it was not for me.

4. Waiting for the exact right moment to shoot for contrast requires patience. But you are a man of action. How do you reconcile the two?

It’s all about patience, without that you won’t get any action. I rather wait for the perfect moment then get a semi- good image.

5. How would you sum up your photographic style? Do you think Enander images are recognizable as such?

I always say I like the contrast between the dark shadows and the white snow. I’m obviously far from the only one looking for that in an image, but that’s probably what is most recognizable about my work.

6. How does your colorblindness affect your work as a photographer. You have said winter shooting is easier than shooting in summer. Why?

I’m sure colorblindness has been part of how my style of shooting evolved, but it’s hard for me to say because to me it’s normal: I have always been colorblind. Winter is easier to shoot because there are less green, brown, and red colors around. I love shooting outdoor summer activities too, it’s just a bit trickier for me to edit.

7. Talk about the short doc made about your life that will screen at Mountainfilm? How did that come about? Please talk briefly about that project in general.

That’s all Frank Pickells and the people at Futuristic Films work. Me and Frank were working on the next season of DPS Cinematic content in Engelberg where I live. During our time there, he mentioned he wanted to do something with me involved, but I never knew it would be the result they got. I was happily surprised when I saw the finished product for the first time. The only parts where I was aware he was shooting me was we were at home in my house; on the mountain I wasn’t really aware he got those moments.

8. What are you looking forward to most about coming to Mountainfilm and to Telluride?

I have been to Telluride before and I really like the town, but I have never been there during Mountainfilm. Everyone I know who has been there talks very highly about the event so I’m really looking forward to seeing it with my own eyes. I’m very excited and honored to host my own gallery show during the festival.

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