First Layer is a unique multi media project by photographer Matt Georges and includes a book, fanzine and short film. This year First Layer returned to its European roots following previous trips to Japan and Russia and embarked on an adventure to some of the most nuts snowboarding terrain the continent has to offer – Switzerland, a small country with strong cultural identity and remarkable mountains.
Vans Europe’s FIRST LAYER SWITZERLAND short film epitomises the diverse nature of the Swiss Alps from deep valleys to mind blowing sunsets across unique landscapes. A rider’s paradise with countless hidden spots, the Vans Europe snow team discovered a plethora of them across Switzerland’s mountain range, each one delivering diverse interpretations and creativity in how they approached each line. With parts from some of Vans leading snowboarders such as Arthur Longo, Victor De Le Rue, Markus Keller, Alek Oestreng, Nils Arvidsson, Enni Rukajarvi, Benny Urban, Sparrow Knox and Valérian Ducourtil, FIRST LAYER SWITZERLAND captures the essence of snowboarding in Europe.
We tracked down the man behind the Vans First Layer series at the movie premiere, French photographer Matt Georges and asked him some questions about the project.
Our trips so far have been kind of exotic – we went to Japan two years ago and Russia last year –so I thought that we should bring things closer to home. We decided to shoot only backcountry riding in Switzerland. and we had a month to get enough photos for a book, a print zine and footage for a ten minute movie, so we were pushing ourselves. It was frustrating sometimes, because we had some bad weather and snow conditions so had to get creative to make things work, so it was challenging. I’m pretty stoked with how everything turned out.
I noticed that you had a lot of aerial shots in the book and movie
Yeah, the drone was kind of my new toy for this year so I used it a lot. I don’t know about it next year because I’m kind of over it already!
A lot of your work looks like it’s on film.
I shoot digital as well and it’s great, but I like to work on film the best. Every year I try to choose a different medium, like I’ll only shoot on a particular film, or I only use a panoramic camera or something. It keeps me challenged that way.
What’s happening next season?
I think that this is the last year for First Layer. We’ve done four of them and it feels like time to move on. We’re going to come up with a new project, but we haven’t decided what yet. I love print, so I want it to be print related and maybe a short film as well.