Between war and mountains

Images of a career


Images as a central theme, or how everything began

Even as a little boy, Kurt Moser needed just two things to keep him happy: his father’s camera and the mountains in view. In his teenage years he attended the hotel management school in Meran and worked for a season at his parents’ hotel up on the Karer Pass in South Tyrol. He soon recognised, however, that this was not for him. By chance a film team happened to be staying at the hotel at the same time: Kurt accompanied the crew as they filmed and was smitten by the art of filmmaking and photography.

He moved to Milan where he trained as a photographer. His father, who had expected his son to follow a very different career, would not speak to him for five years. It was not an easy time for the young Kurt Moser. Spending his days at school, he supported himself financially with a job as a night-watchman: “I had scarcely a lire in my pocket”, he says today. His iron willpower however paid off and, back in South Tyrol, he began to work for the Austrian broadcaster ORF in Bolzano.

When ORF’s business moved to Rome, Kurt achieved his breakthrough as a freelance. For 30 years he worked for the major international TV organisations, always with the emphasis on reporting and documentation. As a war correspondent he visited Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, the Balkans and Kurdistan. “You eventually identify yourself with the local people. You want to know how they are getting on and you find yourself repeatedly returning to them”, says Moser. Yet he does not look back on this as a happy time.

He much prefers to think back to his childhood.


Images in the head – Kurt’s story

“We were all so free. The mountains were our playground, nature was one big adventure park. We were at home in the Dolomites and we had only one thing in our heads: getting out and exploring. I had inherited my father’s urge to discover. So you could say I did follow in his footsteps after all. Like me, my father travelled a lot in this world. In Morocco, in Africa, where there were mountains. He filmed there, then would edit his films at home. That was real manual work at the time, with scissors and paste. My father even had a fantastic photo-camera: a brown Paxette with wonderful chrome-plated Steinheil objectives.

I simply looked through the viewfinder; I didn’t dare to take any pictures. But seeing the world of the Dolomites through the viewfinder was something special. Again and again I borrowed my father’s camera. The images that the two of us saw together each day have been stored deep inside me ever since.”


Being a child once more

Obviously the images too have never left me. I have seen so much of this world, so many of its mountains. The most beautiful locations. And yet the Dolomites are, for me, my homeland. For me they mean freedom. They give me the feeling of the time when I was child. Perhaps I have always remained one.

Now I can come here again, to the distant infinity of these mountains. I can become as one with them. Together we will wait for the moment that will make the perfect image – just as it is depicted in my memory.