“Don’t ask what it is. People like to identify. But it wasn’t meant to be a puzzle. It was interesting to look at. It is a question of shape, form, design, and pattern.”
– Ferenc Berko
Arriving in Aspen in 1949 with an internationally reputed photographic career, Ferenc Berko is often considered the pioneer of Aspen’s modern photographic legacy. Authentic in subject matter and sophisticated in composition, his photographs honor Aspen’s cultural and scenic landscapes.
As the official photographer for the Aspen Institute and Aspen Music Festival until the late 1980s, Berko documented Aspen’s cultural birth with dynamic perspectives and intimate portraits.
Winters found Berko on the ski mountains capturing Aspen legends Stein Eriksen, Friedl Pfeifer, Fred Iselin, and Klaus Obermeyer ski gracefully amidst picturesque snow covered trees. Annually, Berko photographed the FIS ski races and Aspen’s Wintersköl parades.
Berko brought to this once-small mountain town a worldly aesthetic appreciation for the visual landscape. His astute eye discerned the delicate natural details, the subtle transition of seasons, the adventuresome spirit, and the timeless beauty of Aspen.
Living in Aspen from 1949 until his death in 2000, Berko and his wife, Mirte, raised two daughters and five grand children. Berko’s work is in renowned collections including the International Center of Photography, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is the author of two books: 60 Years of Photography: The Discovering Eye and Berko: Photographs 1935-1951.
The Berko family remains engaged in the fabric of the Aspen community through their volunteerism and businesses. Berko’s daughter and son-in-law have owned and operated Pitkin County Dry Goods for forty years and BERKO Photo, which Berko himself began in 1949, is run by one of his grand daughters.
Berko once said, “photography exists in the moment of discovery.” And so, we invite you to discover Berko’s photographic collections.
We look forward to helping you find the photographs that speak to your Aspen memories and Aspen’s enduring sense of place.