Breaking the boundaries

Lucasz Warzecha
Lucasz Warzecha

Last autumn, when Sheffield Adventure Film Festival organisers Heason Events launched a new adventure sports festival in Buxton, the posters and banners featured ‘Arctic Night in Svalbard’ by renowned Peak District nature, travel and adventure photographer John Beatty.

In two weeks’ time the festival will be back after 100 per cent of last year’s audience said they liked the format of mixing inspiring speakers and adventure sports films.

Stephanie Maureau climbing in an ice cave under the Mer de Glace glacier, France

Stephanie Maureau climbing in an ice cave under the Mer de Glace glacier, France

This year’s striking ice cave poster is a local collaboration combining the work of outdoor and adventure photographer Lukasz Warzecha, whose studio is in New Mills, and graphic and web designers, Reflow Studio, in Hathersage.

Lukasz, who will also be exhibiting some of his personal favourite images in the Pavilion Gardens, explained the story behind that shot, which features French ice climber Stephanie Maureau.

“It was really one of those crazy ideas,” he said. “Stephanie told me about the dissolved caves in the Mer de Glace glacier in Chamonix where she’s a mountain guide. Every year they drill and sculpt the caves for tourists to visit. The glacier is always moving, so you can also access old caves.

“When I saw the colours of the ice and the shapes I knew it would be a beautiful shot, but when we first went the tunnels weren’t safe to enter.

“The idea stayed in my head and we decided to go back a year later. The second time we were very lucky. Sometimes the ice can be quite sketchy but the tunnel seemed stable so we gave it a go.

“So it wasn’t about showing off ice climbing or a paid commission – it was simply a self-assignment.”

Lukasz’s exhibition, which will be free to enter during the two-day festival on November 2 and 3, will feature some of his personal favourites, from yoga to ice and rock climbing as well as bouldering and running. And his philosophy is summed up by climber Mark Twight: ‘The question is not how far I am going to take this. The question is, do I possess the constitution, the depth of faith to go as far as is needed?’

Lukasz added: “The exhibition is all about the athletes pushing themselves - and me pushing my photography - to the limits.

“For example, one of the images shows climber Skyler Weekes going for a bit of a dyno/jump – he is testing his dyno skills to the limit and I’m testing the limits of lighting.

“Outdoor athletes understand that if you want to achieve a goal you’ll go as far as you have to – they don’t hold back.”