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Tales from Switzerland

This has been my 59th ski trip to date, some of which have been pure holiday, most of which I’ve worked as a ski guide, occasionally attended training courses and other times coached. But on this occasion I was just a punter, free to pull up and lunch wherever and whenever I liked, without worrying about the dozen skiers on my tail. Just Carmela.

Zermatt is very much my preferred destination and this trip did not disappoint. Although I know the pistes really well here, I never tire of them. The scenery is magnificently varied, with the Matterhorn dominating the entire valley (the foothills and the Matterhorn are just visible in my iPhone snap). It’s the archetypal ‘boys own’ mountain, awesomely chilling in it’s presence, although I suspect the top section has been added on with paper mâché and chicken wire, just to acquire that finely chiselled, iconic peak. Anyway, it didn’t prevent ‘Caran d’Dache’ and ‘Toblerone’ making excellent use of it!

The restaurants, generally regarded as the finest mountain eateries in the world, are the other great attraction. A couple of hours ago we pulled up at the restaurant in Zum Zee, a chocolate box mountain hamlet (pictured above), perched just above Zermatt. So popular that the only lunch option was ‘al fresco’ in -10c! Perhaps surprising for those unfamiliar with Alpine ‘dry’ air, the outside tables were almost as busy as those inside, as we grabbed the rugs provided, wrapped up and anticipated our meal.

by Roland Blunk (iPhone pic)

Roland Blunk(http://www.adamb402.sg-host.com)
Throughout my career, I have been privileged in being commissioned by so many influential clients. Having discovered photography and graphic design before the digital revolution, the possibilities for visual expression seem almost magical to me, as we live our lives together with daily miracles and wonderment. My design and photography skills were learnt in their original pre-digital form. Slow, sometimes laborious, but wonderfully rewarding. Consequently I am forever in awe of the kit I have at my disposal. My main camera is a Nikon D4, which I use with either AF-S 14-24mm 2.8; AF-S 24-70mm 2.8 or AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 Nikon lens. I process my work on a MacBook Pro, so I can shoot, download, evaluate and post-produce my work, before posting it from anywhere and to anywhere within minutes of shooting. I have travelled through time from being Roland Blunk, a 60's London art student, using my parents' attic as a first 'dark room', to using the world as my studio and that really is a miracle to me. I studied design and photography in the late sixties, at what was then Hornsey College of Art, London. Life, after a series of drab boarding schools, was exciting to say the least. Jimmy Hendrix played upstairs at the Manor House pub, James Brown at Cook's Ferry Inn and Charlie Mingus at Ronnie Scott's, to name a few local distractions. I followed this by studying graphics at the LCP and the huge irony surrounding my design studies, concerned my exclusion from applying for the 'Graphic Design' degree course'. As I left school at the age of sixteen to study at 'Hornsey', I skipped my A's and so studied on the LCP's diploma course. A couple of years after leaving the LCP, I was thrilled when Tom Eckersley head of graphics at the LCP, and one of the foremost poster designers and graphic communicators of the last century (Google him), answered my application to lecture, with the news that he loved my letterhead design. Consequently I was offered a visiting lectureship, on the same degree course that I was not welcome to study on! Now let's keep that one quiet. My clients have included: Action Aid Arista Records The Arts Council The BBC The British Council The British Tourist Authority The Crafts Council The Design Council Eversheds Solicitors The Guardian Haymarket Publications Her Majesty's Stationery Office Hoeseasons Holidays The Institute of Chartered Accountants The Institute of Contemporary Arts Island Records The Longman Publishing Company The Manchester City Art Galleries The National Portrait Gallery The Opera Babes The Royal Shakespeare Company The Scottish Development Agency 'Sotogrande' Spain The V&A Museum I have lectured at major art schools in Great Britain including 'Central Saint Martins' London, and my work has been reproduced in the Swiss graphic publication 'Graphis' Annual, The 'Designers & Art Directors' Annual and 'Modern Publicity' Annual. I was nominated to 'Fellowship' status of the 'Chartered Society of Designers' in the mid 80's. In 2002 I qualified as a 'Snowsport England' ski coach (level 4) coaching instructors at the 'Norfolk Snowsports Club'. Each season I worked in both Austria and Italy as a freelance Alpine ski guide, with an 'Internationaler Verband of Snowsport Instructors' (IVSI) licence.