Artist: Marko Shapiro Title: Drop Zone Size: 28-1/2" x 17" Edition Size: Artist Hand Signed and Numbered Limited Edition to 950 Medium: Paper Signed and Numbered About the Artist: You only get one chance to leave the first tracks. Marko Shapiro, known as the godfather of the art of ski photography, leaves the tracks that others look to. Shapiro inspired the previous generation of ski photographers and continues to influence the art today. He has been called "the master of light" by a French magazine. Using God’s vantage point, Shapiro captures the essence of the pure powder experience. The consummate expert, his unbelievable shots catch extreme skiers in bursts of speed and raw power with crystal clarity as they rip past his camera lens.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Shapiro took his first photos at the age of seven when his grandfather gave him a camera. One image that particularly inspired him was the cover photo on a 1962 issue of Life magazine, showing a girl doing a handstand on a skateboard.
While in college, Shapiro shot photos with a manual camera and lens, developing them in a lab his roommate had set up. Graduating from trade school with a degree as a mechanical draftsman, he got a job in a factory outside of Toronto, but was rapidly disillusioned. A coworker who was from Zurich urged Shapiro to see Switzerland. So, in 1970, Shapiro left Toronto with a one-way plane ticket for Zurich, spending his first winter abroad in the ski resort of Verbier, Switzerland. Then, like now, it was a photographer’s idea of visual perfection. Powder was and is the obsession — skiable terrain all around. Shapiro took typical ski bum jobs to support his photography hobby — he worked a grape harvest, followed by eight years working in Swiss hotels to buy film and equipment. In 1974, a friend asked Shapiro to take a photo of him for a Swiss ski manufacturer. Impressed, the manufacturer bought the photo for about $200. Although Shapiro now considers the shot naive, it was state of the art for what was then an undiscovered art form. After that, any spare income was devoted to the constant process of upgrading the tools of his trade. Shapiro started to follow the colorful free-style skiing circuit, and top skiers began to seek him out for photos. His work soon appeared in ads, posters and brochures.
By 1980, his hobby had become his profession, one that has since taken him to Australia, Asia and everywhere else. Communicating has never posed a problem in his travels — wherever he goes, his pictures speak the language. Shapiro was the first Westerner to ski in Siberia. Spending 76 days in Tibet, he photographed Swiss radical free-skier Dominique Perret and Swiss alpinist/snowboarder Jean Troillet, who were attempting the first continuous descent from the 29,028 foot summit of Mt. Everest. Shapiro stayed in a camp at the 21,000 foot level in conditions that can only be described as brutal. At that altitude, the body cannibalizes itself, and he lost 18 pounds. Jet stream winds hurl at 200 – 300 miles per hour, allowing only limited time, with no oxygen masks, to climb and return alive, allowing perhaps ten minutes near the top before one begins the descent.
Shapiro lives in Verbier, still his favorite place, with his wife, Franziska and his daughter, Kimberley. Never one for group sports, or sports confined to an arena or playing field, he prefers to do his own thing and favors individual sports, free of competition unless it’s with the elements. Shapiro will shoot anything having to do with outdoor recreation in all kinds of climates. In addition to extreme skiers, he has photographed mountain bikers, mountain climbers, paragliders, snowboarders and white water paddlers. The inherent risks are great, for the photographer as well as the athlete. In the effort to get that split-second, once-in-a-lifetime shot, the photographer can tumble over the slippery rocks or fall off a cliff. Shapiro doesn’t consider himself a great athlete or a great skier, but notes that he’s competent enough to get in and out of extreme situations in one piece, with nothing worse than a broken arm to show for it, the result of being struck by a snowboarder.
An artist who dreams pictures, Shapiro will station himself under a snow cornice, waiting for the exact moment to squeeze off eight shots per second when the riders fly past. It’s over as quickly as it comes. Or, poised on a rock, he captures white water paddlers as they churn by. The only thing that can be predetermined is the location of the shot; you can never preconceive the end result. Although he plans a composition from the best perspective, every photo is spontaneous.
In addition to the physical dangers, photographing extreme sports poses technical difficulties. Mother Nature calls the shots. Winter days in the mountains are short, and sunshine can be scarce. Shooting pictures of extreme riders is a constant race against the clock to take advantage of every second of daylight; to wait until the exact moment when the light captures the full texture of the terrain. Once the snow is tracked, you move on, searching for your next shot — you only get one go. Perhaps Shapiro’s most famous was the center spread in Powder, the cult publication for extreme skiers. It was labeled simply, "Best photo, Period." Description: All Prints are sale priced everyday! Professionally Frame any print from our dealer gallery starting at an additional $199 and receive free shipping! Click here to view the framing options.
Availability: Print only orders usually ship in 3-9 days. "Custom Framed" products are made to order by craftsman, so additional time is required. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.
Framing Options No thank you, I just want the print. Medium Honey Oak Frame, add (+$199) Black Matte Hardwood Frame , DL-8, #325,add (+$199) Pecan Frame, DL-1, #91530, add (+$249) Bing Cherry Frame, DL-2 , #91535 , add (+$249) Small Driftwood Frame, DL-3, #4755, add (+$249) Dark Walnut Frame, DL-4, #1250, add (+$249) Cherry Frame w/ Gold Liner, DL-5, #1870, add (+$249) Walnut Frame w/ Gold Liner, DL-6, #3300, add (+$249) Large Dark Mahagony Frame, DL-9, #1895, add (+$249) Large Driftwood Frame, PR-1, #4950 , add (+$249) RoseWood Frame, PR-2, #1890, add (+$249) Antique Gold Frame w/ Bead Design , PR-3, #95140, add (+$249) Antique Gold Frame w/ Black Design, PR-4 , #95135, add (+$249)
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