Exhibition on the 30th Anniversary of Cave Photography

The year 2019 was a year of jubilees. I celebrated my 50th birthday, the 30th anniversary of engaging in cave photography, the 20th anniversary of my first website, and the 10th anniversary of winning the first prize for photography from Kačna Jama at the major photography competition “Poslikajmo Slovenijo”. It was fitting to mark these anniversaries in a beautiful way, and what could be better than exhibiting 50 photographs in the gallery Mala galerija of Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana. This exhibition was titled “Underground Worlds,” and the accompanying word was contributed by renowned photographer and photo editor at National Geographic Slovenia, Arne Hodalič. However, this was not the only exhibition as part of the jubilees. Additional exhibitions took place at the museum Notranjski muzej in Postojna and in the libraries of Domžale and Prežihov Voranc in Ljubljana. Additionally, several interviews were published in magazines such as NSS News, Zarja Jana, Digitalna kamera, and Jamar magazine.

A few more words about the exhibition

Cave photography is one of the most challenging genres of photography. The creator has to orient himself well in the harsh cave environment, an even greater challenge being the lack of natural light as the basic component of photography. The cave photographer overcomes these challenges with the use of artificial light which he creatively integrates into the space. He is accompanied by a group of cavers, who are indispensable for the transport of equipment and also actively participate in photo taking. By including a caver in the frame, the photographer reveals the dimensions of the space that would remain inconceivable without a human figure. Each cave photograph is therefore also a reminder of the strains and efforts of the group and their long path into the underground world through narrow passages, abysses, and galleries.

This unhospitable cave environment is incredibly dynamic, filled with lively diversities forming true subterranean worlds. These are landscapes resting in never-ending darkness and are inaccessible to the majority of people. When illuminated and caught by the photographer’s camera, they come to life and reveal themselves in all their colourfulness, majestic dimensions, unbelievable forms and subterranean rivers. Coming into view are unimaginable, exquisite creations of nature that come close to or even surpass the beauty of above-ground landscapes visible to us. When the photographer steps into these spaces, he is faced with the difficult task of deciding which sections to choose and how to capture them with his camera. His greatest challenge, however, is to set the lighting, illumination, that will present the selected space in the best possible way in his photo. Contributing to the power of Peter’s cave shots are his longstanding experience and keen sense of space, light, aesthetics. As we view his photos unveiling beauty torn from the darkness, we can only wonder from afar how much effort and devotion went into them. They radiate a love of the underground cave world, a passion for its depiction. They touch on the eternal questions of our connection with nature, our smallness in comparison with the unhospitable wilderness enveloped in darkness and, ultimately, inspire stirring topics on light and darkness, on what we illuminate and what remains hidden in the depths.

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Copyright Peter Gedei