A photographic series focusing on the waterfalls near Mount Bachtel in Switzerland. Willing to capture the mystical essence of these falls in the twilight, Barbara Heé provides enchanting images with fairy-like accents.
In Hinwil, southeast of Zürich, I asked some friends what their favorite place was in the vicinity of Mount Bachtel. Without exception they each recalled “their” childhood waterfall. Then I tracked down the spots they'd described and photodocumented those falls for months. After storms, floods, summer dry spells… Then I changed the focus, setting out at night to probe the mysterious phenomenon of twilight. A combination of many small components makes these twilight shots possible: there has to be a cold wind blowing, the moon shining, and it ought to be stormy and raining, too—all at the same time. And the falling water has got to be ice cold. But even if all these prerequisites are lined up, there's no guarantee the lights will appear. And when they do, it's never for more than fifteen minutes.
I took 12,000 pictures for this book and did not edit or crop any of them. I just pressed the shutter. I chose the pictures that come closest to my mental images and my drawings and paintings over the past few years. My husband John accompanied me on all these excursions day and night, making sure I didn't tumble down the slippery cliff, watching for every sign of nature. I wasn't out to photograph fairies, gnomes, ghosts or any other natural or supernatural creatures: that they showed themselves all the same is one of the mysterious whims and gifts of nature. Exploring the twilight is a mystical pursuit. Day dies, night is born. These pictures of the falls are a gift to me: the Star Taler girl holds open her shift and all the stars fall in. (Barbara Heé)
Barbara Heé (born 1957 in St. Gallen, lives and works in Hinwil, Switzerland) is a draftswoman, painter, sculptress and photographer.