Dutch photography duo Arturo + Bamboo has taken their photography practice to new heights. Elegantly captured on film, their latest publication ‘SNOW’ brings together a dynamic and intimate collection of images of the startling beauty of the Alps, and the timeless pleasure of winter sports. IGNANT caught up with the couple to learn about their fascination for winter and how their visual journey can bring us closer to nature.
Always armed with their analog cameras, Arturo + Bamboo approach their photographic work from an artistic and editorial perspective, shooting their picturesque surroundings with an elegant line that cannot go unnoticed. The duo take viewers to idyllic destinations and faraway places in which beauty is found between adventure and moments of solitude. Following on from their ‘Summer Diary‘, with ‘SNOW’, they deployed their talent of refined observation to open up the gaze onto a new appealing destination: the Alps. Captured over a period of six years, the project shows the ever-changing allure of the most extensive mountain range in Europe, forever shifting in its majestic views and breathtaking array of shapes and colors.
Flipping through ‘SNOW’, the eyes land on shimmering white snow naturally draping over the mountainous terrain, as it gives way to images of quaint historical architecture, self portraits, and snapshots of people engaging in winter sports and everyday duties—from skiing downhill to playing ice hockey or simply enjoying a break in the sun. Poised between action and stillness, the harmonious images draw the viewer in with their unique tonalities and delicate contrasts. Here, Arturo + Bamboo’s mastery of light and color is joined with their distinctive skill in composition and framing to construct harmonious collages-style images, conceived the way a painter would.
‘SNOW’ is more than just a recollection; it is a book endowed with a narrative function whose purpose is to enrich the meaning of our surroundings. Its intriguing confluence of people, infrastructures, and natural landscapes of well-known ski resorts across Europe, evokes the history of those special places, framing them as sites of entertainment and endless pleasure, as much as of retreat, tranquility, and history. Both documentary and poetic, with each page, ‘SNOW’ manifests a feeling of nostalgia while prompting the eye to wander; resulting in another perfect getaway for those stuck at home.
How did the idea of ‘SNOW’ come to fruition? And how does this new publication help understand your wider body of work?
‘SNOW’ is a continuation of our ongoing research and documentation into dreamlike places and a certain sense of timeless beauty. You could see it as an extension of our previous publication ‘Summer Diary’: there are great similarities in life by the sea and life in the mountains—both are joyful places where people are back in touch with the power of nature.
Where does your fascination for winter sports come from? When did you first get into contact with it?
Despite the Netherlands being the flattest country in Europe, winter sports are very present in Dutch culture. We’ve been exposed to snow since a young age. Bamboo’s mother was a ski teacher in her younger years and has lived several winters in Switzerland. Arturo’s father would always catch the first lift to the top, skiing in the morning and switching to snowboarding in the afternoon, carrying on until ski lift closing time.
"The book is a continuation of our research into dreamlike places and a sense of timeless beauty"
‘SNOW’ doesn’t merely document the pleasure of winter sports; it also strives for a paradisiacal image of alpine nature that escapes from the notion of time to reveal its eternal beauty. What did you wish to express through this curated collection of images?
Difficult to place in time, ‘SNOW’ lets readers disconnect from their daily life and travel with their mind to places where a truly magical atmosphere still stands. Through our combination of images, we want them to feel the rush of hard-packed snow underneath their boots, to hear the silence of fresh snowfall in the still forest, and to sense the Alpine sun burning on their cheeks.
From the glamorous alpine resort of St. Moritz to the spectacular scenery of Courmayeur and the villages of Zermatt, Chamonix, Cortina d’Ampezzo, and Lech am Arlberg, what was it about these alpine localities that sparked your creativity?
These legendary villages are steeped in Alpine history; they are timeless towns where families have returned for generations but also unique places thriving in a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Some like St. Moritz, Chamonix, and Cortina, have that extra layer, being former hosts of the Winter Olympics; others attracted us for their unique geographical position—Zermatt lies in the shadow of the Matterhorn while Courmayeur boasts stunning views of Europe’s highest peak, the Mont Blanc.
Capturing but also experiencing these places as a couple, what has been the most memorable one? Can you recollect certain people, moments, or sights that were instrumental in developing the artistic expression of the book?
During the making of ‘SNOW’, we have collected so many special memories, yet it is mostly a feeling that stays with us: that rush of being outdoors in company with each other, the primary colors offsetting the white snow, the crispy fresh mountain air, the steel blue skies, the sun-kissed skin—that unique feeling that something wondrous is happening or about to happen.
Winter lovers or not, ‘SNOW’ is a beautiful book to flip through and savor. What do you hope its readers take away from it?
In all the work we do, we always try to bring across a spirit of lightness and playfulness: we invite people to look at life and to the ordinary things that often go unnoticed or unquestioned with new, fresh eyes.