Kite Photo Project Debuts at Cervia: ‘The World Hanging by a Thread’

Ben Ruhe
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Because he has photographed many disasters and sees the world imperiled by pollution, hatred and war, Hans Silvester has embarked on a major kite book project to convey the other side of the equation---hope, beauty, friendship, peace. Creator of more than 25 photographic volumes, including the best-selling Chats du Soleil (Cats of the Sun), which has sold a half-million copies worldwide, Silvester enrolled artist-kitemakers Philippe Cottenceau, Claudio Capelli, and Robert Trepanier to fly for him where kites could be shown as symbols of purity. The project took them to rural Tuscany and two of the resulting images are shown on these pages.

Capelli sees the project “as a way of introducing various cultures to each other, of organizing people through the medium of play. I don’t believe problems can be solved with arms.” He makes an irrefutable point about kites worldwide. “There’s wind everywhere.”

“As a child in post-war Germany,” says Silvester, “kites were important to me. It was the only thing we little boys had to play with. This marked me. I’ve been interested in kites ever since. To photograph kites, you have to deal with nature. You have to know about wind, abou temperature, about light.” Now resident in the Gordes area of southern France, Silvester met neighbor Cottenceau on a television program. Cottenceau introduced him to the two other master kitemakers, Capelli of Cervia, Italy, and Trepanier, of Montreal. The collaboration followed.

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