Natural Beauty & Built Brilliance From Mount Cook to Naoshima

Amid the silent mountain tops of New Zealand’s Mount Cook fall the footsteps of photographer and adventurer Thomas Seear-Budd. Seear-Budd’s work has driven him to explore the plains of Iceland, the craggy wilderness Greenland, and the serenity of Japan’s mountains—and we’re happy to share some of his captures from the incomparable Mount Cook and the architectural marvels of Naoshima, Japan.

Mount Cook was first ascended on Christmas Day of 1894. Intrepid climbers fought their way to the mountain’s peak, which today stands an astonishing 3,724 metres in height—earning it the name Ao-raki among the Maori, meaning “cloud piercer”. Captured here are the mountain’s pristine ice flows and tempestuous chasms, peaks, and valleys.

Naoshima is a small town in the Kagawa Prefecture in Japan. Like Basel, Switzerland, Naoshima has risen to the seemingly unlikely status of international art hot spot. Home to the Art Setouchi Triennale, Naoshima and its closest 11 islands, including Teshima and Takamijima, contemporary museums show works by Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama and Bruce Nauman. Here, Seear-Budd shows the masterful arrangement of architecture, landscape, and curation in perfect pareto optimality.

Photographed by Thomas Seear-Budd

Written by Megan Jenkins