I have seen them before,
while driving home at night
up the river road.
Wet paw prints
That have climbed
up the bank
out of the river.
Walking along the road
until they dry
Why do you cross at the same spot ?
Where are you going ?
Are you hungry this autumn ?
No need to apologize.
Q&A with Bernie Arndt PHOTOGRAPHER
Dec. 18, 2017
Bernie Arndt’s perspective toward photography has changed since his college days, where he studied painting, photography and printmaking at the University of Colorado. After his 1981 arrival in Aspen, Arndt’s worn many hats for the Aspen Skiing Co., but has always tried to incorporate photography into his life – during the winters he’s now their on-mountain resident videographer. But outside of the 9-5 job, Arndt is transforming his images from the landscapes and sports shots for which Aspen is so well known, to “engaging more of a specific and philosophical or political point of view,” he says.
Hometown: Denver, Colo.
Briefly describe your work: Up until this point, I’ve been doing the traditional Aspen genre of sports and landscapes, but I’ve been feeling a need to get with something more substantial. That involves with dealing with the human figure. I’m looking at more formal concerns of photography as an art form, such as type on the print as a new direction.
Memorable moment as a photographer: Art school in the late ’60s. It was a fabulous time to be studying art, and an expansive and inquisitive time. People were so relaxed and open, and I find the younger generation very prudish, they’re just too uptight.
Who or what inspires you: Ralph Gibson, he’s a wacky person, and he’s been a strong influence. Diane Arbus, and I’m just becoming more familiar with Francesca Woodman.
Current and upcoming projects: Aspen Chapel Gallery’s exhibit called “Flashes of Light,” running through July 15. Besides that, I’m continuing to push the figures in photography and the type. F*#! landscapes.
First exhibit: When you go to art school, your stuff is on display all the time. I don’t remember specifically; it’s important for students to exhibit their work. You’ve got to get it out there. You’ve got to complete the trilogy: inspiration, creating and exhibiting.
What do you think about the valley’s photography/art scene? It’s unfortunately unsophisticated. We’re not getting the energy we need to advance, and we’re stuck in too much travel photography, sports and landscape stuff. Aspen has a tremendous heritage as a creative center. We’ve lost that. It’s commercial.There are very few suitable venues for showing photography. Trying to get a gallery to host a photography show is difficult; unfortunately we end up with restaurant, bank lobbies and church dayrooms. One of my favorite places to exhibit was at the Woody Creek Store, and it’s undergoing renovation so hopefully that will be open to photography when they reopen in the fall.