(Nota bene: This is a bio
designed to accompany the marketing of a new book by Firnhaber
and Estes Park photographer James Frank entitled
Magic in the Mountains: Estes Park, Colorado.
Beyond that it has little value.)
Firnhaber has lived in Estes Park, Colorado for over 38 years.
He feels comfortable calling himself a local, not only because
he has checked the same post office box nearly every one of those
days, and climbed to the top of nearly every mountain in the National
Park, but because his three sons, two of which were born in
Estes Park, traversed the local school system a combined
total of 35 years. Somehow going to
that many Christmas programs and parent-teacher conferences
warrants a local medal, if there was such a thing.
Being a local , he feels, is a requirement for describing his
own community as magic and writing about it.
With a personal load of too much education, Firnhaber has often
tried to avoid the scholarly/academic route, but seems always to
get caught up in it as if it was some sort of recurring allergy. He
has worked most of his life as a researcher, writer, editor, and
photographer. At this point of his life, he has decided that this is
what he does best and he might as well keep it up. His pursuits have taken him to most of
the mundane and a few of the exotic places on the planet,
usually in search of some elusive big cookie. For many years he has studied and photographed prehistoric rock art and
his studio sports file cabinets filled with over 30,000 slides
of this unusual art from most every corner of five
continents. His work has been
exhibited, and boasts inclusion in private
and public collections, all over the world.
Seven years ago he bought a home in northern Europe where he now
about half the time. Closer to work, he muses.
Magic in the Mountains is his thirteenth book. His
last was Shamanism in the Interdisciplinary Context, and
his next two don't have titles yet, but one is a companion
volume to Magic on Rocky Mountain National Park (the one
that hasn't been written) also with James Frank, and the other has to do with a cast-brass amulet tradition that
traveled across Eurasia for over 2,000 years and ended up in the
Russian state of Karelia, north of his
Estonian home. One portion of
this work was just published in a Chinese/English anthology in Beijing, China. He has
also published a lot of other stuff, both
papers/essays and photographs.
still things he would like to do and places he would like to go.
Built in the early 1800s as a kőrtsihoone
or country inn, Firnhaber's home
in the little Estonian village of Uue-Kariste is
half dwelling and half stables.
He lives in his fixer-upper while he restores it. But since it is
on the country's
National Register of Historic Places, it has to be done to
heritage standards, and that is taking longer.
You are welcome to come and visit,
but expect to either help or be satisfied with unfinished.
to see more of this place.
Since this short bio was published, Firnhaber has moved
permanently to Estonia. The old stone house continues to
be worked-on, but a much newer (1889), year-round house in the
nearby town of Viljandi is home.
Firnhaber can be
reached anytime, anywhere by email at