Photographer: Paris Gore
Photo Editor: Jakob Reisinger
Heidi: How did you expand as a creative and photographer while working on this story, “Child of the Setting Sun” for Patagonia?
Paris: Working on this story was very personal as I was part of the accident and close to the family. Most of the projects I’ve worked on in my career I’ve felt close to or always have some sort of tie to the story but this was just on another level. Knowing everything that went on and being so keen to show this piece the way I felt it should be showcased really drove my creativity out to shoot a certain way I felt I had never photographed before. I usually pull inspiration from New Yorker style photo pieces and wanted to really bring out a lot more emotion than what I feel like I normally do.
Where did you take this portrait?
The portrait I took of Stephanie Bennett to accompany her story had to really be powerful. At her house she had a barn that was walled with metal siding so it gave off a metallic reflection, also being an open door it provided us a really great location for the portraits. Holding her young child Robbie, squirming and looking in different directions posed some challenges but to be honest Robbie is very stoic. His eyes have a mature gaze that look deep. Stephanie too, her eyes are beautiful and could pierce your soul. We photographed for about 20 min, having them look out towards the house together and I really did know on this frame it was a special photo. Stephanie was giving me a hard time about not liking her portrait being taken but she really photographed so well and I truly did shoot some of the most powerful portraits in my career I felt.
It’s a monumental moment of resilience, courage, and the full spectrum of life, how did you know when to pick up the camera to capture those moments?
Our weekend shooting at Stephanie’s place was really fun and never felt any moment was forced. We just shot Steph and Robbie doing their thing and had a great time doing so. I also just feel so close to Robbie that any moment with him is a real gift so it’s pretty easy to have the camera out most of the time being an over zealous “Uncle Paris”.
You were a mountain bike rider that evolved into a photographer, when did you know photography was your path?
I got into photography pretty early on in high school but was mainly focused on shooting content for the yearbook and school sports not really thinking about applying it to mountain biking. Then one day me and a buddy went out to shoot some bike photos and had my a-ha moment. I had so much fun and just realized it was something I could possibly do for a living because at that point in my life there wasn’t much else in the way of a career I would have gone for.
How do you stay stoked and inspired?
A lot of people know me as a bike photographer and I do love it but any advice I can give is to have a passion outside of your work. I really enjoy snowboarding for example and I do photograph snow sports from time to time but it allows me to shoot it with pure enjoyment and not treat it as my “job”. Having an outlet just to go enjoy without the pressure of bringing a camera is so important to me and I work really hard to not taint that. Burnout is real and having the separation has really helped me appreciate the bike world and everything I’ve worked for!