anita strasser


The Stone Sea, Austria

Steinernen Meer

This project is a visual ethnography / oral history of the Stone Sea – a mountain range in the Austrian and Bavarian Alps where I grew up. The research concentrates on the every-day lives of people living and working in this mountain range during the summer season, using storytelling to draw out people’s experiences and understanding of life in the Stone Sea. The people include innkeepers, sheep farmers, hunters, the mountain rescue team and the mountain doctor, members of the Alpine Association and other voluntary groups, as well as others. The accompanying photographs, informed by people’s accounts and my own experience of walking in this mountain range, helped create an intimate visual ethnography, which provides insight into some of the complex issues of mountain life such as tradition, tourism, modernisation and environmental sustainability. The project is a comment on the lack of ethnographic work that pays attention to the people whose everyday life is situated in the mountains. Mountain literature generally concentrates on the highest and most dangerous mountains, on the climbing achievements of (male) mountaineers, engineering achievements in chronological order or on the spectacles of nature. Images often depict mountains and climbers in glossy colour images that celebrate the “beauty” of the mountains. This book documents / celebrates the everyday life of people inhabiting this mountain range and recognises their experiences and knowledges of life and in the Stone Sea.

The book is available in German (ISBN: 9781527265103; paperback, 21x21cm, 318 pages, self-published).
If interested, please contact me at anitastrasser@gmail.com