While Austrian-born Claudia Ziegler loves to climb, she’s better known for her mesmerizing images of climbers, mountain bikers, and skiers. Her fascination with photography began at age six when her parents gave her a camera, and over several decades she has made a life of shooting in her unique style, which she calls “dynamic photography.” She tells us, “It was not until I was 20 that I realized that photography is what I wanted to do. I never thought that I could make a living out of my passion, but my urge was so great that I had no other choice but to follow it.” Her incredible drive and vision are so clearly evident as you scroll through her website or flip through the pages of her latest book, The Young Savages.
For Claudia’s most recent book and proudest accomplishment, The Young Savages, she visited some of the best young climbers in the world and captured their everyday lives and inspirations. Making the book was a once in a lifetime experience for Claudia; she shares, “The book project fulfilled so many wishes of mine… I was with Adam Ondra in Adrspach, with Ashima Shiraishi in Central Park and with Alexander Megos on Action Directe and many more.” The images captured for this project tell the full story of the athletes we know and love. Instead of seeing Ashima in terms of hard sends and competition titles, Claudia gives us a peek into her life as a teenager growing up in New York. And she does so in the most thoughtful and artful way.
Aside from getting outside to shoot climbers, she also takes time to climb for herself. Her perspective on climbing mirrors her perspective on photography in that the sensation and movement are what matter most. “I love it when every move I do feels smooth and fluent,” she explains. “Then the type and grade of climbing is not so important for me anymore.”
At the end of the day Claudia says, “I love to work outside and play with my creativity. To make the most out of what I have in front of me and to find cutouts which create something new.” Thanks to her passion and creative eye we get to appreciate and experience our sport and its climbers in a unique and beautiful way. To check out more of Claudia’s work visit her website and get your hands on a copy of The Young Savages.