Dozens of climbers with red lights mark out the Hörnli ridge route to the top of the Matterhorn to pay tribute to explorer Edward Whymper and his team, which ascended it for the first time 150 years ago.
The photo was taken by Robert Bösch as part of an advertising campaign for the Swiss mountaineering and trekking equipment company Mammut. The full set of images represents one of the most incredible combinations of artistic, mountaineering and organisational expertise.
Some of the images required the coordination of hundreds of expert climbers in some very remote and inaccessible regions of the Swiss and Italian Alps. Months of planning went into setting up the shots and the results are so vivid that it’s difficult to imagine that they were produced on location rather than composited in a studio somewhere.
There must be something bittersweet about putting this much time and effort into creating images and then having the end result blend seamlessly with all the dream-like but photo realistic visuals used in modern advertising campaigns. But for the people that come across these images and find out about how they were created there’s a sort of two-stage thrill. The images themselves are enough to make you stop and stare and then there’s the realisation – wait, they actually did that?
On the Mammut YouTube channel you can see some behind-the-scenes clips of how the shoots were organised.
You can also visit the online folio of Robert Bösch.