“A camera in the mountains has always been part of my standard kit,” says Jake Norton ’92 on his website
, “as essential as boots and a backpack. The camera for me is my tool for translating the mountain realm and those visceral, uncommon experiences which are deep and profound and at times surpass the bounds of language.”
During April and May, Jake Norton’s photographs, from his adventures on all seven continents, will be on display in the Edwards Art Gallery at Holderness School. Jake Norton: Art, Adventure, Activism is an exhibit of thirty images including portraits, mountain landscapes, wildlife, and documentary reportage of ecological and social issues. Through Jake’s artistic expression, those of us at home get a chance to see the world, both its immense beauty and its tragic troubles.
According to his website, Jake’s passion for the mountains began at age 12 when he climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington. Shortly after graduating from Holderness, at the age of 18, Jake began guiding professionally on mountains around the world. By 1991 he was also making a living photographing and eventually video recording his adventures.
Highlights from his career include photographing the discovery of George Mallory’s body on Mt. Everest in 1999 (Lost on Everest
), documenting the pre-World War II camps on Mt. Everest, and retracing the steps of Ernest Shackleton’s 1917 crossing of South Georgia Island. He has summited Everest, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, and Aconcagua. He has also either directed or been the cinematographer for several award-winning documentaries including High and Hollowed
, Secrets of the Sky Tombs
, and Himalayan Megaquake
But Jake’s ambitions go far beyond just conquering mountains and recording his impressive accomplishments. According to his bio on Eddie Bauer’s website
, “He serves on the International Advisory Board for The Mountain Institute and is an ambassador for the United Nations Mountain Partnership.”
In a 2012 interview with Outside
magazine, he explains, “For years, I've wanted to take climbing a step further. Simply bagging summits is no longer worthwhile for me, especially after getting married and having two kids. While I love climbing, I want my life to have an impact on the world outside of myself, and climbing alone can’t do that. Additionally, I want to show my kids that they can follow their passions in life and make a difference” (Davidson, 2012).
Jake has chosen to focus on water and the important role it plays in the health of communities throughout the world. Two award-winning documentaries—The Water Tower
and Holy (un)Holy River—
record the importance of water in Kenya and India respectively.
“I've come to understand that [water sanitation] is the most pressing development crisis in the world today,” he says, “and it's made me reflect on my past experiences in Nepal and the developing world and to see how much of the tragedy and suffering in the world is a direct result of the lack of water and sanitation.”
Jake Norton’s exhibit at Holderness School focuses on his still photographs. With crisp colors and intense attention to detail, Jake’s photographs draw the viewer into worlds far away and tell stories exotic and honest. Gallery director, Franz Nicolay, reflects, “Jake’s current commitment to the health and well being of the peoples of the world he encounters, was clearly evident even when he was a young photography student at Holderness. Having Jake’s professional image stories grace the walls of the gallery seems like a homecoming. Jake has found his voice and calling, and they are resonant.”
Jake Norton: Art, Adventure, Activism will be on display from April 14 to May 28. An opening reception will be held on April 14 in the evening from 6:00-7:30 PM. Jake will also give an artist’s talk in the gallery on that same day from 12:45—1:30 PM. All are welcome to attend.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Wednesdays and Saturdays: 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Sundays: ClosedFor more information about the Edwards Art Gallery, please contact Franz Nicolay at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 630-2238.