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Menno Boermans

Slide Show

Broad Peak

Biography

In 2004 Dutch photographer Menno Boermans (1977) went on an expedition to Broad Peak. His team put two climbers on the real summit, but he was forced to descend because of bad weather. Nevertheless he published a book about this trip. On assignment of Dutch newspaper Het Parool he tells his story about why people want to climb high mountains. And of course, with stunning images.

"I want my pictures to show why I am so passionate about mountaineering. It’s more than a sport", he says. "It’s a way of life". He always takes the route himself, on foot or by ski, because he thinks this is the only way to catch the atmosphere of the climb. There are no helicopters or hoists to bring him up the mountain. Though he earns a steady income from newspaper work at the Amsterdam daily Het Parool, slow days might see him halfway up a frozen waterfall in the Swiss Alps. He has been known to complete particulary difficult climbs or ski-descents twice: once to familiarise himself with the route, and again to fulfil his commission and take the photos.

Regarding Broad Peak, Menno claims he was a climber first and a photographer second, though you wouldn’t know it from his pictures."It was realy hard work. Sometimes I had to use all my energy for moving and simply forgot to make pictures. A shame, for a profesional photographer!" he says smiling.

He has been fascinated by all things mountainous since he first visited the Alps aged 16, and has been photographing his tours ever since. As he became a more dedicated climber and skier, his photography, too, gained new heights. During the last few years his photos have been published in the likes of the Dutch Magazines Limits, OpPad and Hoogtelijn as well in the American Outside Magazine and Alpinist Magazine. He also worked on assignment for the National Geographic Channel, the Swiss tourism agency, Olympus and Swiss equipment-company Mammut.

He spends about six months a year in the mountains and the rest of the time freelancing for Het Parool, where he trained. He finds the split ideal. "When I am in Amsterdam I can dream about new climbs and think of ideas. And when I am in the mountains, I think about portraiture and can daydream about the ‘easy’ life in a city. I think the combination works well." He is prepared to go to any length for a good photo, but respects the hazards of mountaineering and insists that he’ll only embark on a climb if it is safe. He says: "I climb to have fun. So always with good friends and if the weather turns bad, I don’t mind turning back and try another time. In the Alps we end up spending a lot of time in the pub." So what’s the secret behind taking great mountaineering photographs? "Oh, I always end up walking twice as much as everybody else."



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Camera information
"I used to work on Fuji Sensia 100 slide film, but last year I only worked with digital camera's. My Nikon D1X is very heavy, so when it must be light I take an Olympus E-1.

The 28-110 and 100-400mm lenses are also relativly light because they have been established to optimise the compatibility between optical technology and electronic image sensors.

On expeditions I use the Olympus C-60 Zoom camera. Light, small and it makes images up to 5.1 Megapixel! I never use filters".
Boermans
More information

www.mennoboermans.nl

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