HTD was exploring the connection between traveling for pleasure and sports. And there is a lot to say about it. But what caught our attention most is the breathtaking and almost exotic, aerial passion of a young, charismatic Austrian surgeon: We were happy to talk with Kurosch (31) about his love for paragliding, aerial photography, beauty and his appearance in Austrian media.
HTD: Dictionaries define the term traveling as the motion from one place to another by means such as cars, planes and the like. Very often, we can also relate the aspect “for pleasure” to this activity. In a certain way, paragliding can even be seen as a ‘sporty metaphor’ of traveling. Could you please introduce us a bit to this aerial sport and how it looks like.
Sure, first you get up on a mountaintop (by foot, car, cable car) and look for a good place to launch. After strapping yourself in your harness and putting your glider on the ground, there comes that magical moment when you pull on the lines and your wing catches the wind. It rises above you, you take a few steps and… you’re in the air, flying. That moment still feels magical. Every single time.
When getting your license, which takes you a week, you already do everything on your own with a radio in your ear, getting instructions from your teacher. Nowadays the wings are designed very smart and safe, so launching, flying and landing are easy to learn. And after this one week of training you will feel confident, flying on your own. Now the fun starts… But there is no such thing as a typical flight – it’s a different experience every time. You could hike up a mountain in the late afternoon, have a snack on the peak and then take off into the sunset, gliding through smooth and perfectly calm air. Or you take the whole day off to go on an adventure trip – you’re at the take off at 9 in the morning, launch early, use strong thermals to gain altitude, rise well over a thousand meters above the highest peak around, fly far and land just a bit before sunset, many hours later…
I have been interested in paragliding since I was 18 or so, but it never felt like the right time to give it a try. A bit over two years ago I finally wanted to experience what it felt like to fly like a bird and took a course. Since then I’m hooked and can’t stop. What I like about it is the sense of freedom you experience, you completely clear your head and leave all other thoughts behind, you feel completely free and most of the time you have a stunning panorama in front of you.
HTD: Many people relate the beauty of flying to paragliding, but even more risks and dangers. What is true about the latter association?
You are in the air, flying, with a long distance to the ground. So, keeping Mr. Newton and his laws of gravity in the back of your head, you just have to do what you can to make it a safe experience. The equipment nowadays is very safe and there are very, very few reports of it failing. Usually, the pilot is the one who makes a wrong decision. If you stick to what you learned in your training, if you gather information about the region where you’re flying and if you always watch the weather it actually is a very safe sport in my opinion.
HTD: You have been paragliding in different countries and been taking truly stunning shots. Also a well-known Austrian newspaper published articles on it. Why have you received according to your opinion such a positive resonance on this kind of photography?
With aerial photography I combine two of my passions. What I and maybe also other people like about these shots might be the sense of space, freedom and a kind of respect and awe of nature that you get when you look at it. The stunning view is one of the reasons why I love paragliding – by taking photographs I try to capture these moments and the emotions that I experience while flying and take them back home as a memory.
HTD: You are a very gifted photographer with a special eye for beauty. What does beauty mean to you?
Music, photography and nature are the ones that appeal the most to me personally, but I also think that beauty can be found in mathematics, food, literature and many other things, but foremost in the people surrounding us.
HTD: Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and impressions of beauty with us! (ger)
Photo credits: Kurosch Borhanian