Editor’s Note – At Seattle Backpackers Magazine, we’re always interested in artists, industry leaders and athletes that are undertaking inspiring projects in the outdoors. In this piece, you’ll learn about one such mover and shaker – Yohan Terraza. Yohan is a 34-year-old professional photographer out of Bordeaux, France who left his job in graphic design to pursue photography. Unlike in his desk job, through photography, Yohan is able to explore outside and capture his adventures to share with others. In his series Magnum Silentium, showcased here, Yohan explores the inner and outer silences of the mountains, inviting viewers to consider how their own adventures speak to them.
Magnum Silentium is an inner story…
Originally, I began traveling through French, Swiss and New Zealand mountains and captured some photographs that were visually interesting, but didn’t work together because they didn’t share a uniting sense. For 6 years, I collected these images as I walked through these mountain ranges (many of the images are taken in the French Pyrénées) – sleeping outside, taking nighttime photographs and sharing adventures with friends or alone. One day, I realized that this collection had been made almost completely organically, along with another series, Sylkho. I took it as a sign: this work was a part of me, unconsciously speaking. To me, these images are silent. In every photograph, the silence is there, both inner and outer.
That is what this work is about – The Great Silence, Magnum Silentium. It is also a hommage to mountains all over the world; those great ladies that freak me out and inspire passion in me simultaneously. This work is also dedicated to all of the people who shared this adventure with me.
There are many ways to understand subjects through photography and, in this case, this project is my own way of expressing what the mountains are to me – what I feel they really mean when I look introspectively. The mountains are a momentous path towards humility and respect – a way to live free and to share adventures, a way to find simplicity in all aspect of your life. The less you carry in objects or thoughts, the more you find yourself. This is the mountains in silence. This is Magnum Silentium. In a way, this work is a self-portrait.
You don’t need to be passionate about the mountains to appreciate this series, but if some people are touched by it, it would make me extremely happy. Like with most of my projects, this series will grow with time and future expeditions.
I’ve always loved nature, feeling lost, walking along the horizon and, most of all, telling stories and capturing lives. For me, photography isn’t necessarily a passion in and of itself, rather it is something that allows me to live as a passionate man – it’s an excuse to have adventures outside and to share them in the field and after. Photography has allowed me to meet a lot of people – not only in the great outdoors – but in my own city. In 2012 and ’13, I was working with the Bordeaux National Ballet Opera for 5 month on a great exhibition in the Opera. Interestingly, with this project and in my work in the outdoors, it’s the same eye – suggestive rather than illustrative. I use this same approach with all of my subjects. I really want to make people spend some time with my photographs, because everything is not told. Sometimes the blur or the shade can be imagination’s best friends…
If you’re interested in seeing more of Yohan’s work, check out his website. For the complete Magnum Silentium series, click here.