Meet Christian Klepp

Geoscientist and Photographer Dr. Christian Klepp


Meet Dr. Christian Klepp

Have you ever met a passionate photographer and geeky geoscientist? I am both, and an avid adventurer from Hamburg, Germany. My creativity and my knowledge merge into an exciting geoscientific journey through our earth system. I document the unique beauty of our planet in a clear and intelligible way and show how it functions and how it changes through the eons of time. To awaken respect and arouse curiosity for our home planet and to protect the diversity of our planet is nearest and dearest to my heart and defines me and my way of life. I cordially invite you to accompany me on this journey to the most impressive places on earth and to explore with me the fascinating geological formations that have created these awe-inspiring landscapes.


Biography

My enthusiasm for our planet already arose early during my childhood hikes with my parents in the Austrian Alps. It was there that I discovered the pristine beauty of glaciated mountains reflected in crystal clear mountain lakes surrounded by lush green forests. Later I began to explore the complex geology of the Alps and collect the astoundingly diverse rocks. I was repeatedly confronted with severe thunderstorms, torrential rain, mudslides and scary rockfalls. Deeply fascinated I wanted to understand the processes that cause these natural phenomena. Endowed with unbridled curiosity, my deep love of nature led me to study meteorology and geology to learn how our planet functions.

I enthusiastically recall two freezing cold winter months during which I worked on the frozen Arctic Ocean between Greenland and the North Pole on board a research icebreaker. Exploring the icy silence of this sublime landscape and feeling the humility of being surrounded by hungry polar bears were absolutely exhilarating. On top of this came my respect for the incomprehensible age of rocks and their formation. But back then I had no way to share my feelings in these wild places with those not fortunate enough to be there with me. It was right there in the Arctic when it dawned on me that I had to learn how to “write with light”.

Since then it has been my passionate aim to capture and share these intimate moments of the beauty of nature. At the same time I want to bring the geological past of the landscapes to life. This provides me with limitless energy to constantly improve my self-taught photographic horizon and to inspire enthusiasm for the uniqueness of our planet through my photographs and stories.

My camera is the extension of my eyes to depict my very personal perception of nature into unique images captured in ways unseen before. Evoking deep emotions in the viewer by sharing a fleeting moment of magical light is truly a wonderful gift. No less fascinating is the disparity in perception of the picture. While the viewer sees a rather romantic perspective, as a photographer I experience the adventure up close. The patience and dedication for many repeat visits to a location until the light is perfect, strenuous hikes with heavy equipment, exposure to rain, wind and cold, the sleep deprivation, feelings of fear and joy as well as overcoming obstacles that get in your way tell a unique story behind every image. It is precisely these adventures and challenges that make capturing these rare magical moments of perfect light so intoxicating, euphoric and rewarding.

Who is not captivated and awestruck by the vastness and beauty of the Milky Way? The sight of a nocturnal landscape under the bright shining arch of the Milky Way enchants me every time anew. My mobile astronomical star tracking device compensates the rotation of the earth and allows me to capture point-shaped stars with very long exposure times and without any notable image noise. With this technology, even very faint stars that are not visible to the naked eye are easily recorded by the camera's sensor to conjure up breathtaking stellar displays.

My award-winning photographs can be seen in galleries of international exhibitions, photo award galleries, book articles, online and print magazines as well as in my 100-page book “Where Geoscience Meets Art”.

Artist's Statement

Geoscience blended with photography holds the key to deciphering and sharing the majestic stories written in stone. On a human time span of about a century we occasionally hear about earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and volcanic eruptions. But when looking at the geological time span of millions of years, which we can no longer grasp, these sporadic events become enormous rock cycles that act both horizontally and vertically in the earth system. They not only move the continents restlessly across the earth’s surface, but also act so that entire ocean basins fall in and out of existence. The heat generated in the earth's interior drives these processes. Remarkably, all these deep-time processes are written in the rocks that lie at our feet and form the diversity of the landscapes we see today. Picking up a rock and reading its eventful geological past can lead to deep respect and awe. That’s why deciphering the geological history of a landscape is one of the most fascinating adventures of our time.
I would like to share these stories with you.

As a climate scientist I work in the field of satellite remote sensing and onboard research vessels on the global oceans. I don't see countries, borders or territories either from space or on the oceans. All I see is a vulnerable planet that is home to us all. I also bear witness to the consequences of the rapid, mainly human-driven, climate change and the ever faster destruction of the remaining ecosystems and landscapes. I really cannot over-emphasize just how urgently we need to develop respect for our planet and contribute to its preservation.

Although it’s literally five minutes to midnight, our chance is to rethink. The key is to develop an appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness of our planet and to evolve interest in how our planet works. Don't we all want to protect what we love?
Let us love our unique planet and protect its beauty and diversity for generations to come!



Geoscientist and Photographer Dr. Christian Klepp