Seven Day Mountains is an observation and recording of the alpine landscape around the towns of Bonneval-sur-Arc, Gressoney la Trinité and Aussois. Began about ten years ago, it is a slowly evolving study of the mountains in the context of the urbanite retreat over week long sojourns as dictated by standard accommodation booking schedules.
Although I have connections to Switzerland, coming from Ireland meant having to conscientiously unlearn and quash the decades of gift calendar presentations of an alpine paradise. For me the process of unlearning this view was a long waiting game for that seven-day visit when I would no longer see like a visitor from lower lands and would not instinctively look up to see or search for the postcard panorama, but instead would look beneath the peaks and beyond the contrived quaintness to begin the process of foregrounding a sort of 1:1 human scale experience free from the tropes of semaphoring peaks for the reward of an unhackneyed romanticism, and for when, if someone asked what it is like, I would have images that might convey the terrain of exploration of this tamed Elysium.
It was in the winter of 2013-2014 that I finally began to see these seven day mountains for what they are, rather than what they once appeared to me to be, or even how they seemed to present themselves via carefully preserved old farming instruments in tastefully designed chalets and colour coded slopes.
Coinciding with my grasp of these mountains was the gradual retreat and disappearance of early winter snow except for on the higher reaches so that a week’s winter vacation became more of a cold summer of short days and long shadows on dusty pastures and forests beneath the brightest and clearest of skies.