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The Many Shapes of Water
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The Many Shapes of Water

Whether ice, snow, steam, or liquid: German artist Franz Xaver Aicher’s fascination for water in all its forms defines his photography. As a dedicated skier, snowboarder, and surfer, he uses his camera to capture the “element of life” in alpine and marine environments. An important focus lies in his abstract and conceptual approach. Franz constantly searches for unseen ways to portray water in all its ways. 

“Activating and perceiving my senses in either alpine and marine environments gives me a feeling of freedom and deep satisfaction. I enjoy listening to the wind sweeping across the water’s surface, the cracking and movement of ice, the crashing of waves, or the roaring of waterfalls finding their way. Watching the ocean or overlooking a mountain panorama is a moving experience that even has a meditative component. 

For me, one of the most beautiful places on earth is to lie on top of a reef under a breaking wave. It’s a very calm surrounding and extremely energetic at the same time. This contrast intrigues me. It takes precise coordination and planning when and where to dive to avoid getting tossed around by the forces underwater. I recommend every surfer wearing goggles once in a while to observe the waves forming below the surface. It opens up a completely new perspective of the environment. 

“For me, one of the most beautiful places on earth is to lie on top of a reef under a breaking wave. It’s a very calm surrounding and extremely energetic at the same time. This contrast intrigues me.”

“I recommend every surfer wearing goggles once in a while to observe the waves forming below the surface. It opens up a completely new perspective of the environment.”

I’ve always had a strong connection to nature, growing up at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. My family spent a lot of time outdoors in the mountains, hiking, and skiing.I started skiing in my early childhood, and a few years later, I discovered my passion for surfing and snowboarding. 

I then decided to move even closer to the Alps during my university years, studying business administration in Innsbruck, Austria. Loving our environment, my friends and I started seeking adventure by going on mostly CO2-neutral mountaineer expeditions. The idea was to give mountain sports back its credibility and use neither cars nor lifts or helicopters but be completely self-sufficient. To spread the word and importance of our message, we documented our trips on video and later made a documentary film which aired on international TV and smaller film festivals.

“I’ve always had a strong connection to nature, growing up at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. My family spent a lot of time outdoors in the mountains, hiking, and skiing.”

During my studies, I decided to work in the family business but never forgot my passion for adventure and especially travelling. While road tripping Mexico’s Pacific coast on a surf tour with a friend, I then found my passion for photography which I am very thankful for. 

From that point onwards, the camera was my constant companion. As many other outdoor photographers I first started taking pictures of my ski and surfer friends and the landscapes. Through experimenting with water photography, I finally discovered further interest in conceptual approaches which turned out to play a more and more important role in my photography.

My interest in the element of water gave my creative work the context I’ve always been looking for. Today I find myself working more and more abstractly. I enjoy fiddling with different and unique techniques of photography. The variety of the element’s molecular compositions amazes me. It seems to offer endless creative possibilities.

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“I find myself on a mission to show the abstract beauty of the element itself. “

Somehow I find myself on a mission to show the abstract beauty of the element itself. I am currently working on a long-term book project combining my photography and a scientific context on water.

With my art, I also aim to raise awareness of water scarcity and the commercialization of water management worldwide, as along with that comes great entrepreneurial responsibility. I think we should address this topic more and look for solutions in the wake of climate change and a growing world population. I don’t consider myself an activist, but I think showing the fascinating characteristics of water helps raise its appreciation.”

 

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