Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Mark Fisher captures the transcendent power of backcountry experiences

27 Mar 2023

Magic of the moments in-between

Winter/Spring 22-23

Written By: Melissa Thomasma | Images: David Bowers and courtesy Mark Fisher

It all starts with snow,” Mark Fisher says with a grin and playful shrug. Without hesitation, he identifies a key thread that traverses his extensive filmmaking and photography experience, showcasing adventures from across the globe. From the summit of Everest to the most revered peaks in the Tetons, the stories Mark weaves begin with a common, crystalline factor.

“The Tetons have the best snow in North America; it’s always been a training ground where people have cut their teeth to go on to do things in the bigger ranges,” he muses.

Crisp winter days among the crags and snowfields of the Tetons hold particular power for Mark on a personal level: both restorative and inspirational. “My perfect day is doing laps on Mount Taylor with a couple good friends — from the athletic effort to the adrenaline of the downhill — then coming back and having an epic dinner with them, where you revel in that experience. The power of the backcountry is the shared experience you have; it can’t be replaced.

“I get my best ideas backcountry skiing. It’s where my mind is able to rest and focus on not just the moment. It clears my head; it simplifies life,” says the father of two who spends up to six months a year traversing the globe.

Of course, millions around the world aren’t able to make fresh tracks on the curves of the Tetons after a winter storm. Mark’s films and photography, however, transport them there effortlessly. He accomplishes this, he explains, by focusing on the element that makes his own backcountry excursions resonant: the journey itself.

“The focus is on the experience the people are having with each other. It’s the joy of skiing, the joy of being in the backcountry, the camaraderie, and the stoke at the end of the day,” he explains.

To capture soaring intensity and scope, Mark says, “From a base level, you get the details, whether that’s the look, the expression, getting ready, the anticipation — it’s the moments leading up. It’s the in-between moments. That’s something that I have always focused on: those in-between moments. It’s not the finale, it’s not the beginning. It’s that off-moment where you capture something truly authentic.”

Authenticity, he knows, runs deeper than flash. “What I do is try and capture real experiences; what we’re doing is something that someone would actually do, not just staging someone for a great shot or view. It’s capturing a full experience from start to finish, and tying it into a sense of place.”

Capturing the depth of narrative that unfolds during an adventure is no easy task. Mark’s work has led him to the planet’s most extreme conditions — viciously low temperatures, biting winds, and the demands of keeping up with some of the world’s top mountain athletes.

“It’s challenging,” he agrees. When it comes to a challenge like Everest, he says, managing those basics can be out of someone’s comfort zone. But calling the wilds of the Tetons home, Mark’s more than equipped to rise to the occasion. “It just means you have to work harder, be as fit or fitter than the people you’re working with. You have to be comfortable enough in the terrain and fit enough that you can get the shots.”

Ultimately, Mark’s work is awe-inspiring, but he’s driven by a bigger vision. “We’re deeply committed to doing work that has a positive impact. Our goal is to create epic stories that drive positive change and deliver transformative experiences.”

Whether it’s through Mark’s stunning footage, or through time spent in the backcountry for one’s self, he believes that cultivating a connection motivates people to care more deeply for wild spaces. “Those core elements of the backcountry are something positive, something transformative, for everyone. Even if it’s in small, subtle ways, it’s important. I want to move the needle in a way that people cherish it, not just as a way toward a more fulfilling life, but also for the world. Lower impact travel, human-powered experiences: they ’re not just good personally, they’re good for the planet.”

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