As the photographer with the most experience in Mountain Rescue I took the pictures. Another MRA volunteer flew me and my camera around to take the photographs. We got grants to pay for the fuel and film and then off into the wild blue yonder we went.
I had never before photographed from a plane but I quickly learned a lot about aerial photography and a little about flying in a small plane. It was exciting and beautiful. It helped that I was familiar with these mountains from all my hiking and skiing in the backcountry. I started out using a 35mm camera and then moved up to medium format and got some amazing shots. We shot in summer and winter and accumulated a treasure trove of pictures. In my darkroom I developed the film and printed hundreds of 8×10 black and white prints and organized them into 3 ring binders that continue to be a valuable resource for planning rescues today.
As I printed the pictures I realized some of them were really beautiful. I selected 15 and proposed creating a limited edition portfolio to sell to raise money for MRA. We got a few grants from local philanthropists and Ilford and Agfa Gevaert donated 11×14” paper. I hired an assistant and we began printing the edition of 50 portfolios. I wrote an essay and technical notes to accompany the photographs, acquired archival boxes, had the text and label printed and assembled the portfolios. We arranged for a show of the work at the new Aspen Art Museum. The portfolios sold out immediately. Now I really WAS an artist! Philp Yenawine, the director of the Aspen Art Museum, was very supportive and we became close friends. He introduced me to the world of museums and art institutions. He encouraged me to keep making work.
Mountain Rescue volunteers still use the photos and help people in the backcountry. They can always use more support.