Words & Images Josh Kempinaire-
I’ve always been attracted by the North. I can’t really explain why, but I know that I like the cold, the snow, the soft light. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to got to Africa or South America, of course I do. But if you ask me to choose one destination for the rest of my life, I would on the spot say Norway, Iceland, Alaska or Greenland. That sounds weird for some people, but if you have ever experienced the peace you find up in the North, you definitely understand my point. Nature there never stops amazing me. From a small tree in a forest to a majestic rock in Norway, it always makes me realize how beautiful our planet is. We are maybe not living in the coolest world ever in terms of politics but that’s not the subject here. Nature is beautiful, nature nearly seems to be unreal and nature is what I’m living for.
I would not consider myself as a professional photographer, more as an adventurer. I don’t travel to take pictures, I take pictures because I’m traveling. I want to explore the world. While writing this I realize that it’s really hard to express how I feel about that, because I can actually not spend a long time without shooting. So, is it the feeling of having a camera in my hand that I miss? Or just the feeling of being in the mountains? I would say I need the mountains, but honestly I don’t know. I graduated from high school three years ago and I immediately had a yearning for traveling. So, I bought a van, actually an old delivery car that I turned into a van, and drove all the way from Switzerland to the North Cape in Norway. I’ve never felt so free since then. That’s why I’m now thinking about living for my two passions: Adventure and Photography, nothing more. I’m not interested in living a “normal life” that our society suggests us to live. I don’t want to make crazy money or to drive a fancy car. I don’t need it. And even if my future is still quite uncertain, I know what I want to do: I like challenges and I think I’m ready for this one.
Exploring is not only about going to crazy remote and unknown places, it’s about going to places that you personally don’t know. I never mind if somebody tells me that a place is “too famous” or “so touristic”. If I guess it’s beautiful and I’ve never been there, I go. I would say that exploring is about leaving your comfort zone. Actually, I was afraid of being alone in a dark forest, when I first planned my tour in Norway, it was more than a exploration tour for me. I think people are just stuck in a vision that link the word “exploring” to “fame” and that’s why many people are not doing it. They just think that they are not good enough to climb the Everest, but they are probably brave enough to spend their first night under the stars in a dark, unfriendly forest next to their house. I’m passionate about mountains and my heart belongs to the ocean, so I had to leave.
The mountains are majestic, we owe them respect, they go through all kind of weather and millions years after, they are still there. You can’t conquer a mountain; maybe it allows you to climb it. When I’m hiking to the top, I realize that I’m only a small human being that is irrelevant in this nature. I’ve still never climbed a high peak until only a few months ago, I was really afraid of the height. I started to climb with friends to get rid of this fear and I have a new challenge now, I would like to do some alpinism in a near future. Then I will really be able to tell how I feel about mountains.
I can easily compare the ocean to the mountains: peaceful and powerful at the same time. They control everything, they are everywhere around us. But there is something more that I can’t really explain. I feel just so good when I swim inside salty water. And more than that, it’s the texture of the water that I like more than anything else. Every wave is unique, like every moment in life. They all looks the same but if you watch closely, they are all different, the power is different, the colours are different, the shades are different. Regarding life, every minute is different. Even if you think you are in a routine, there are still moments that will pop out of your life and these are the ones you have to enjoy.
© all pictures Josh Kempinaire
More of this essay in our NL1 magazine.