I spent last week at the St. Moritz Art Masters in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The first one took place in 2008. In the past seven short years, it has become one of the premiere art festivals in the world, featuring such diverse contemporary artists as Ai Weiwei, Steve McCurry, James Turell and Joel Meyerowitz, among dozens of others. This year’s theme was India, and I was honored to be asked by Leica Camera to exhibit some of my India work and head a two-day street photography workshop.
Art was everywhere—in hotels, on top of buildings, in the street, and in cafes and bars. My exhibition was in the lobby of the Kempinski Grand des Bains hotel, which is somewhat reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.
Artist Subodh Gupta installed his 2008 work “School” in St. Moritz’s Protestant Church. It consists of 45 brass cast stools and stainless steel utensils.
This “Natural Chaos—Golden Edition No. 1” by Arne Quinze was installed in Badrutt’s Palace.
Along with the art, there were many other events. There was a Kids’ Day where local and visiting children got to paint, bake cookies, play air hockey, and generally have a good time.
I am not known as a landscape photographer, but when you’re in St. Moritz…you’re a landscape photographer. It’s inevitable. Particularly if you’ve never been there, as in my case. The views are spectacular.
Doing street photography in St. Moritz is a little more challenging. Our workshop takes to the streets with grim determination.
But we stuck with it and got some spontaneous shots of the locals living their lives.
Of course, there were many tourists in St. Moritz for the festival.
The group gets together to check in and have a little Q&A.
There were some great parties for the Art Masters staff and artists. One was in a very old home of a carpenter and featured surprise birthday cakes.
I was out late one night and found myself—for the first time in a long time– in the middle of a bar fight. Beer glasses flew and I got a bad bruise, but my Leica survived unscathed.
St. Mortiz Art Masters spoiled me. My deepest thanks to the organizers of Art Masters and to Leica Camera for inviting me to participate in this event. It was a fantastic week! It was wonderful meeting so many accomplished artists and the burgeoning artists in our street photography workshop. I feel like I’ve made more than a few friends for life. The only thing to do now is go back and see St. Moritz in the snow!
And now, this blog will end. Much like “Today Will End,” by Shilpa Gupta, installed on top of the Hotel Castell…only different.
– Craig Semetko
See more of Craig’s work on his website. Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram and on Facebook. You can purchase his new book “India UNPOSED” at indiaunposed.com. Finally, Craig will be doing a book signing and two-day workshop at the Leica Gallery Mayfair September 12-13. Email email@example.com for more information.
St. Moritz looks like a beautiful place. As I read your account of the bar fight, I remembered reading a story about HCB using his Leica as a weapon when confronted while shooting on the street. You might want to keep that in mind for future “decisive moments”!
I’m glad to see you receiving recognition for India Unposed. I think your work in India is superb, in fact, even better than the highly acclaimed work in your original Unposed work.