Off Piste: An Alpine Story

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Dewi Lewis, 2009 - Photography - 119 pages
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"Off Piste" is a very funny and powerful satire. It looks at the enormous changes to Austria's alpine region, the Tyrol, over recent decades. It juxtaposes images from two very different worlds - the old, 'traditional' rural Austria and the increasingly consumer driven culture of today. Wonderful ironies abound, yet despite the humour that underlies them there are chilling implications for the region and for the sustainability of its natural landscape and social traditions. Behind this very amusing book lies an equally serious purpose. Once there was a strong dependence on the natural world - the landscape, work and everyday lives were intertwined. The black and white photographs, taken by agricultural engineer Armin Kniely, that depict this 'lost' world have a particular charm. Today though, as Lois Hechenblaikner's colour photographs vividly show, it is a much changed environment where the excesses of our consumerist world are clear to see. With over 40 million overnight stays a year Austria's tourist industry is all important to the country. Here there is 'Something for everyone, summer and winter, season after season, event after event. A well-oiled leisure machine. A tourist paradise. Big business and big profits.' But at what cost?

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About the author (2009)

Lois Hechenblaikner is recognized as a critical observer of the changes in the Alpine area. Born and raised in the Tyrol, his parents ran a guesthouse, and so he experienced tourism and the tourism industry from an early age. Wolfgang Ullrich is a professor of Art Sciences and Media Theory at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.

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