Bernhard Edmaier, born in 1957, had been a geologist before he made photography his profession 20 years ago and founded a photographic agency ‘Geophot – Pictures of the Earth’. Geology constitutes the basis of his photography. It is his aim to present the manifold colours, forms and structures which the Earth has created without man’s interference. The technique he uses in his work is Aerial Photography.
Seeking beauty in the form and colour of the Earth’s crust When you ask Bernhard Edmaier to describe the way he works he likes to quote the classic photographer Andreas Feininger. “First I study the elements of nature with an engineer’s eye and focus on the relationship between form and function. Then I use the artist’s eye to seek out what we, for want of a more precise definition, call beauty.”
This quote suits Bernhard Edmaier well. As an engineer, photographer and artist he searches for beauty in the textures of the Earth’s crust, in its strange shapes and broad spectrum of colour. His work is not about the changes of the seasons. Edmaier’s images pick out the tones and nuances of soil, rock, sand, fire, lava, water and ice. He roams the world, and the result is a thrilling journey over the surface of the Earth, presented as endless succession of abstract works of art. But Edmaier aims to communicate more than just a sense of beauty through his photography.
“I also want to arouse interest in the geological process, the process of transformation that has been going on for millions of years and is constantly reshaping our planet. The purpose of my GeoArt project, is to document unspoiled natural landscapes. By doing this I hope to broaden people’s awareness that there are still large expanses of our planet that are worth protecting.”
Bernard Edmaier would never consider doing any other work than he does now. “Photography is my profession and my hobby. I enjoy many things in life, including good food and drink, art and music. But there is nothing that gives me such a feeling of happiness as sitting in a helicopter and flying over the endless deserts of Africa, the ice plains of Greenland or the coral cliffs of the Great Barrier Reef.”
Driven by his perennial interest in natural phenomena, Bernhard Edmaier travels extensively to deserted and still untouched corners of the globe to gather material for his books and other photographic projects. On his trips, he is accompanied by Dr Angelika Jung-Hüttl, his partner, fellow geologist and science writer for prominent German newspapers and popular science magazines, who in close co-operation with the photographer, works on book projects and provides scientific commentaries for his photo book editions.
Over the years, Bernhard Edmaier has won many prestigious awards for his work. His volumes of photography ‘Vulkane’ (1994), ‘Eisige Welten’ (1996) and ‘Geoart Deutschland’ (2003) were consecutively voted The Most Beautiful German Science Book of the Year, and his ‘Geoart – Kunstwerk Erde’ won him a renowned Kodak Photo Book Prize in 1998. In 2001 he received the Hasselblad Master Award.