Photography

Mountain Man

Bruno Engler lived a life as expansive as the Rockies

Brian Bergman May 7 2001
Photography

Mountain Man

Bruno Engler lived a life as expansive as the Rockies

Brian Bergman May 7 2001

Mountain Man

Photography

Bruno Engler lived a life as expansive as the Rockies

The lucky ones leave this world a little richer than it was when they arrived. Bruno Engler, who died on March 23 at the age of 85, was such a person. Mountaineer, photographer, cinematographer and father of 10 (the youngest of whom was born when he was 67), he lived a life as expansive as the Canadian Rockies, where he made his home for more than six decades.

Born in Lugano, Switzerland, Engler immigrated to Montreal in 1939, at the age of 23, and immediately headed west by rail to the Rockies, where he found work as a ski instructor and mountain guide (he later served in the Canadian Army instructing soldiers in mountain warfare). Over the years, his clients included political luminaries such as Pierre Trudeau and Peter Lougheed as well as a host of Hollywood stars. Engler s brushes with the famous also stemmed from his work as a still photographer, cinematographer and location

scout on films shot in the Rockies. He mingled with the likes of Marilyn Monroe (River of No Return), Jimmy Stewart (Far Country) and Paul Newman (Buffalo Bill and the Indians). But Englers awe was reserved for the terrain, not the people who traversed it.

“Never forget,” he once said, “that the mountain is still the master. Mountains make people look small—very, very, small.” Engler married four times, most recendy at the age of 80 to Vera Matrasova, a former Czech Olympian and respected film historian. In addition to his 10 children and 14 grandchildren, Engler s chief legacy is the hundreds of striking blackand-white photographs he took of his beloved Rockies. Through them, the viewer can glimpse a world as serenely beautiful as a misty mountain peak on a summers day and as suddenly treacherous as a midwinter avalanche. Long may they illuminate.

Brian Bergman

To see more Bruno Engler images www.madeans.ca