Behind The Shot: Journey To An Historic Mountain

Mount Nemrud, Turkey

Photograph By Chris Rainier

Excessive within the Taurus Mountains in central Turkey lie the traditional burial grounds of the kings and queens of the Commagene Kingdom. Ever since I used to be a toddler, I had dreamed of going to those historic lands and photographing the two,00-year-old ruins discovered windswept on Mount Nemrud.

Greater than 40 years in the past, after I had completed working for Ansel Adams as his photographic assistant, I started a lifetime journey of seeking out and photographing sacred websites across the globe. I name them “energy factors,” locations which might be both pure landscapes or non secular religious websites the place there’s a presence of one thing highly effective, one thing magical, an vitality that evokes a life drive that connects every little thing within the universe. Nonetheless one describes it, I went searching for the sacred from Tibet to the Aborigine lands of Australia, from the icebergs of Antarctica to the volcanos of Iceland.

Through the years, I discovered to be affected person, to search out the fitting mild, the fitting second to {photograph} these locations. The well-known photograph poet Minor White as soon as mentioned, “Decelerate till the article of your consideration affirms your presence.” I took this to coronary heart and sometimes slowed down considerably and frolicked within the land, studying the seasons, studying from the sunshine, and finally started to {photograph} lots of the websites within the elegant silver-gray mild of the complete moon. I might design my entire journey expertise to be someplace highly effective on the complete moon.

These journeys took me to the Taj Mahal to expertise this outstanding monument and its white marble facades shimmering within the moonlight, and to the Moai statues on Easter Island, and to spending the evening in historic Kiva websites within the Southwest desert of the USA. Adams noticed that the standard of your picture, whether or not photographing an individual or a panorama, is in direct proportion to the standard of the connection you may have with the topic. I consider this to be paramount to my pictures—to provide myself the reward of spending time on the land, intimately feeling the facility of place.

I dreamed of getting permission to journey to Mount Nemrud, however for a lot of many years Turkey was arduous to succeed in for foreigners. The chance lastly occurred final yr as borders slowly started to open after the pandemic. Turkey lies on the crossroads of the East and West. I discovered it a outstanding nation with beautiful landscapes, form and open individuals, and an historic tradition that was integral to the commerce alongside the Silk Street connecting the Far East to Europe.

I arrived in Turkey earlier than the complete moon and spent a number of days scouting the traditional ruins for the proper spot that might be bathed in a mysterious mild. On the day of the complete moon, I spent the evening making exposures, wanting to search out the fitting steadiness of sunshine to make the ruins shimmer with a way of sacredness—a way of thriller. With the completion of this picture, my journey into the sacred was winding to a conclusion.

After a number of hundred pictures, 1000’s of miles and many years of exploration, it was time to publish the pictures in a ebook and collect my very own ideas together with the essays of among the world’s nice thinkers and consultants on the which means of “sacredness.” My ebook, SACRED, shall be revealed in October 2022 by Earth Conscious Editions. 

See extra of Chris Rainier’s work at

Canon EOS 5DS R, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, Gitzo tripod. Publicity: 1/30 sec., ƒ/18, ISO 1000.

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