Twenty years ago, photographer Yves Suter’s mother won a snowboard in a supermarket competition. Into the Great White is a documentation of everything snowboarding has meant to him since that lucky day, at nine years old, when he got his first board. The book is a beautiful and honest portrayal of everything that captivates him: the exploration, the environments, the people and the unforgettable moments. Certain of the story he wanted to tell, Yves chose to publish the book himself. He spent ten years collecting images and the effort involved in the project makes itself felt. To find out more about the book, Huck sat down with Yves to talk words, pictures and chance.
“Photography still looks best in print, whether in a book or in an exhibition. On the internet it’s often like sand slipping through your fingers; you get tons of information but you forget it very easily. By contrast, a book is something you can touch, feel and keep. You can gain a very clear overview of a body of work and really understand it.”
“I like to have control over the outcome of my work and the way it is presented to the viewer. I enjoy every stage; I like scanning the film, doing the lithography, the editing and so on. The entire process of book making brings me a lot of joy. I do whatever I want to do. Everything is possible. Self-publishing gives you the freedom to fully fulfil an artistic vision very directly. Nobody can prevent you from doing anything. But on the other hand, it can be very nice to have experienced publishers on your side who can help and guide you.”
Words and pictures
“I don’t like to talk a lot about my work because everything you need to know is in the pictures. I often get the impression that people write very intelligent stuff in books for the sake of proving they can write complicated essays. I never wanted that. My book is about how I see this world, about how I live this world. I tried to transport a feeling with my pictures.”
“You never get to see it in magazines or movies but it is everyday life for everybody who snowboards. These moments are why I go snowboarding, so I wanted to show that. It’s what snowboarding is to me.”
“In the end, snowboarding is like life; there’s a lot of luck and chance. Everything is an interplay between knowledge, experience, chance, luck, time, coincidence and nature. You try to prepare and be ready, but every time you go somewhere it looks different to last time. The sun, wind and snow play a game of constant change. No day is ever the same, but that makes it interesting. With my photography, chance dictates the conditions, situations and people I come across, but my style stays the same; I just try to adapt it to different situations.”