From 1948 to 1990 Odermatt was employed as a traffic policeman in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden and took hundreds of photographs, mainly of his fellow workers and of the the towns and countryside where he worked and still lives. Surrounded by mountains and a large lake, Nidwalden was a fairly isolated place until 1976, when a major tunnel and bridge were built.
As a result, Odermatt's photographs bear witness to an environment gradually coming to terms over the years with various degrees of encroaching modernity. Roads figure prominently: snowy lanes and wet streets contrast with bright new highways, which appear like fresh scars across valleys and forests, slicing through picturesque village that huddle on the shores of photogenic lakes beneath leaden skies. These scenic detours, however, more often than not lead to the end of the road: a car crash.
Arriving at the scene of an accident, Odermatt would take one set of photographs for the insurance or police reports, and then take another for himself. His reasons for doing so are mysterious, but the results are often strangely beautiful.