The Daily Edit – Mind Over Mountain: Jakob Reisinger

Patagonia Journal

Photo Editor: Jakob Reisinger

Heidi: Where did this all-female crew go and for how long?

Jakob: These photos were created on the prestigious Bugaboos to Rogers Pass ski traverse in British Columbia during the Spring of 2021. Our snow ambassadors Leah Evans, Marie-France Roy, and Madeleine Martin-Preney had their eyes and hearts set on this project for many years. When the stars aligned, filmmaker Nick Waggoner, with the help of Tucker Anderson and Alex Geary, tagged along to document it.

Why did you provide the crew with disposable cameras?

Early in the planning they had all expressed safety concerns with a large group over 6 people on such a long traverse in remote mountains with no room for error. More people equate to more possible complications. So, we were not able to send along a dedicated still photographer because moving picture was the priority. Single-use cameras seemed like the way to go because of their reliability, ease of use, no battery charging or electronic fails on a 10-day adventure with harsh weather conditions and varying temperatures.

What aesthetic were you going for with BW film?

I chose BW for an elevated but also simplistic aesthetic. I think it works very well in snow environments and big open spaces, like the glaciers on the traverse, and gives nice contrast. To me BW film does a wonderful job conveying the mood of snow—it’s purity and timelessness. We used cameras with Ilford XP2 film stock because those were the only ones available near Revelstoke, B.C. where Leah lives, and a friend of hers had to pick them up the night before the girls left on their trip. Later I learned that there’s actually a Kodak Tri-X single use camera which I would have preferred. We color corrected the images to match Tri-X a bit.

How did your love of the snow and mountains inform this project?

Skiing is my first love and moving through snowy landscapes will always feel like coming home for me. Snow is a gift from heaven and cannot be cherished enough. Using BW film was my attempt to celebrate winter a bit and replicate a sense of adventures past.  This project basically brought together my two biggest passions and I’m so stoked that Patagonia is a place where these photos can shine. I had to pinch myself a few times while working with these images that I’m getting paid to do this 😊.

Some of Patagonia’s founding photo principals are images on speculation, participatory POV, real people doing real things, and what YC calls an honest shot. What other principals did you call in?

The photography ties into our desire to offer a participatory point of view where the photographer is really part of what is happening rather than being an outside observer. This way the photos feel energetic, engaging, and authentic as opposed to staged and ‘commercial’ because that’s how the moments were. The photos came back so personal, fun, and gritty and it really feels like a trip report from the athletes’ personal perspectives. By removing the pressure of a professional assignment and letting the athletes really just have fun with the cameras added an element of realness. They never had to ‘pose’ for a photo, they just did their thing and went full circle by self-documenting it.

 

 

The Daily Edit – Linda Guerrette


Linda Guerrette

Heidi: How long have you been taking photos and how did your parents inspire you?
Linda: I’ve been taking photos for a long time but professionally for the last 10 years. Both my parents had a very strong work ethic but also knew the value of getting away to ski, fish, camp, ride bikes and adventure. I’m very fortunate to have grown up cherishing experiences as a family and individually.

You started out in the ski industry, how many women photographers/coach were on the scene when you started? 
When I started there were few women coaches and even fewer photographers. Times are changing some but there is certainly a large gap in numbers between the genders. It’s encouraging to see more young girls and women becoming creatives in the action sport world becoming role models for future young girls.

What constitutes a worthy spot to hang out while the participants come through?
I like to create a sense of place so I’ll scope out locations that will fulfill that criteria. I like to have the action come to me based on where I position myself. I will generally position myself where body movement and emotional expression can and will take place. I aim to have the subject shape the image. It’s most rewarding when I feel a connection with an athlete through the lens.

What emotions do you look for?
I look for physical engagement first which typically leads to exhibiting emotions of all kinds. The range is from focus, excitement, joy, satisfaction.

Tell us about your relationship with Queen of Pain, Rebecca Rusch and your connection to women’s cycling.
I met Rebecca through FB after one of her Leadville victories. I posted a few images of her race and she liked what she saw and that was my introduction to her. Over the years I’ve worked with various female cyclists. My main focus at any event is to work on giving coverage to the top women, middle of the pack and the up and comers. Women supporting women is vital to the future growth.

How has your process refined over the years?
I’d like to believe I’ve become more creative and innovative at storytelling. I’m more comfortable connecting with the athletes so we can work on creating images together. Let’s face it with social media as it is marketing of self is very important to the success of athletes as well as myself.  Building networks is something I continue to refine.

What would you tell your younger, creative self?
I would say trust yourself and believe that your passions can become a way of life. It certainly won’t be easy but staying the course will be worth it.

The Daily Edit – Colin Wiseman: Writer and Photographer

According to Gerry Lopez, “Bells are one of the things that Japan does better than anywhere else in the world.” Ringing the bells under heavy snowfall on our first day in Niseko at Hanazono, Hokkaido, Japan.


Colin Wiseman

Heidi: How has being both writer and photographer informed your photography?
Colin: The storytelling aspect of being a writer (and editor/photo editor) helps me approach photography with a deeper vision of the final product. It allows me to see the whole story and create a visual narrative that fills in the gaps between peak moments. Sometimes, in action sports and otherwise, the context in between the main objectives are where the true story lies, and it’s important to keep an eye out for the less obvious images that can be the most honest and impactful. It’s easy to forget that if you aren’t focused on a cohesive narrative.

Did you start out knowing you wanted to do both edit and photo/motion?
Ever since high school, writing and photography have both been interesting to me. They’re complementary pursuits, and I found storytelling through both copy and imagery to be a natural progression. Video came later. For most of my career, I thought I wouldn’t want to try to capture both stills and motion on the same shoot, but for some applications—particularly shoots where motion and moments are predictably repeatable—there can be effective balance without watering down the final product.

What have been the benefits of being a “dually” or multi-talented now that we have a thirst for content in the digital world?
For one, a brand or editorial title can save travel costs by sending a single person to get the whole story through copy, imagery, and potentially video. Second, the ability to understand the story in a holistic way—whether that’s a brand story or an editorial story—can allow me to provide a more cohesive and balanced final product as well. And third, photography serves as a visual notebook in a way—the photos bring me back to the moment and allow for vivid, detailed memories to draw upon while writing.

Big picture, with multiple levels of digital media, the content needs of any entity have grown exponentially. Being able to provide everything from stills to video and accompanying copy can feed the various levels of engagement that are all essential to successful tiered storytelling from print to web to social media. As someone who studied sociology for seven years, seeing the big picture is also fascinating to me, and being able to take a holistic approach to media creation is a fun puzzle to put together.

Were there any drawbacks?
It all takes time, and doing both a photo edit and copywriting on tight deadlines can demand a lot of creative energy. Writing, in particular, requires a spark that is hard to explain, and that happens after the trip, or interview, or engagement with the subject at hand. Sometimes when you sit down to write it flows almost effortlessly, but sometimes it doesn’t—the creative inspiration can arrive at odd hours, or even days or weeks after the fact. Photography generally has its creative moments before and during the shoot, but the back-end editing of my own work is more like hammering nails than playing music, which is the opposite of writing.

You recently finished a stint as a photo editor, did that role shed light on the art of pitching in stories and your photo work?
I recently spent about a year working in the photo and copy departments at Patagonia covering maternity and paternity leave for one of their photo editors and one of their managing editors of copy. Before that, most of my back end work had been as an editor, photo editor and content director for The Snowboarder’s Journal, which is an independent print title with a digital property, focused on a very specific core audience. My time at Patagonia certainly helped me understand the high volume of content required to support a larger brand in the outdoor space with strong and specific messaging, which speaks to a large and diverse audience. It certainly helped me understand how stories fit the brand message more effectively, and gave me a better understanding of how photography and copy flows between larger teams and how overall brand messaging flows into category-specific storytelling. Patagonia has a lot of moving parts and fitting work into the right spaces as a freelancer requires making everyone’s jobs easier through clear communication, clear understanding of the brand, and pitching work that fits into the aforementioned messaging pyramid.

Eric Jackson outside of Valdez, Alaska—the image that won Best Mountain Photo for Red Bull Illume 2021

Congratulations on the RedBull Illume award, why did you submit that image?
Thank you. Winning Best Mountain Photo at Red Bull Illume is a career highlight as someone who shoots action sports. I actually submitted that image to the Raw category, so it was a raw file with zero edits in post. The light, shadow, and immensity of the Alaskan landscape fit well into what I saw as a successful raw image, but it ended up winning the Best Mountain Photo award, to my surprise. It was one of a few peak moments from a week in Alaska where we only got a few cracks at shooting big lines in nice light—after two days up there, wind scoured the range, and effectively shut us down.

Getting a high-level snowboard image in Alaska requires both a lot of planning and a lot of luck, and this one worked in a year where not a lot of people had success up in Alaska, so I thought it might stand out from the crowd. To get that shot, I was perched on a giant glacial ice bulge with massive crevasses just below. it was getting late, and we had to get out of the mountains soon. The wind was starting to below, making navigation difficult. Every year I try to get up to AK to shoot, and some years we walk away with nothing, so any successful image from Alaska is special to me.

Photograph by Agathe Bernard: Interview with her can be read here

Photograph  by Ola J. Chowela : Interview with her can be read here


What have you been working on lately that inspired you?
A lot of my inspiration comes from moments outside of work—evening light on my mountain bike above my house, pedaling alone with time to think. A powder day at the mountain with friends. A hike through big trees in clean air. A good conversation with a deep thinker. Things like that. I’ve been consciously expanding my work beyond the action sports realm in the past few years, and that has been both challenging and rewarding. The unpredictability of shooting with kids, for instance, requires a different approach than setting up a portrait or an action shot with a professional athlete. Working with video is also a fun and engaging pursuit, building a story through a somewhat familiar yet somewhat different medium.

During my time at Patagonia, I was able to work closely with the photo director on two projects in particular that really inspired my creative vision as a producer and editor. One was coverage of the Fairy Creek logging protests on Vancouver Island. I grew up nearby, and old growth logging has long been a controversial issue. To be able to provide a platform for Indigenous people to tell that story in their own words was very meaningful to me. Same goes for Patagonia’s strong messaging following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe V Wade. Having a diverse crew of photographers across the country capturing the protests, and delivering a strong message within 48 hours of the ruling, was both challenging and inspirational. To make space for diverse and often underrepresented folx to tell their own stories is incredibly rewarding. I have a lot to learn in how to navigate those relationships, and I’m inspired to do so.

The Daily Edit – Forest Woodward: Personal work, Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Photographer and writer: Forest Woodward

Heidi: Why did you choose to photograph this only in black and white?
Forest: My entry point into the photographic world was, at a very young age, through the alchemical space of the black and white darkroom. It was a place that shaped the foundation of my vision, and my way of seeing in the world. Over the past two decades I have learned to work in color, and it has served me well for interpreting editorial and commercial assignments in the mode of the times. I have always however, reserved a special place in my practice for black and white, a place that I most often visit when I am working on personal stories. It is a way of seeing and working that helps distill the world around me into essence, light and form.

Was it exclusively shot on film? 
Yes – all of the work was shot on film, a mix of medium format and 35mm.

How did your connection to nature, movement and climate work inform this work?
There’s a lot in that question. My work and interest in the human relationship to nature and our effect on the climate goes way back. As does the process of movement through land as a way of coming into conversation with it. Growing up as a kid roaming game trails in the mountains around our home, and later working in the outdoor industry climbing and running and navigating rivers, movement across land has always connected me to a deep source of intrigue and creative inspiration.

Today so much of the work I encounter in the world comes from a place of talking about nature, about the human effect on climate, about what projections of past and future show us. Those stories are important. But I also think we need more stories that are in conversation with the land, that are informed by a process of immersion, a reappraisal of the importance of emotional and immersive relationship to specific biospheres. Lake Powell is running dry, the West is in a mega drought, Glen Canyon was drowned. These are things that we know – that the data reveal, that science supports, and history has catalogued. These facts are important to consider – they will shape the decisions we make going forward, the policies and actions we take both individually and collectively.

But beyond what can be extrapolated through the analysis of data sets in an air conditioned office in DC, I am interested in what the landscape might offer when it is involved in the conversation in a less abstract manner. This is where the “movement” comes in. The idea of immersing in landscapes and spending long periods of time moving by foot (or in this case by paddle) across the land. It is in this way of moving, watching, listening and interpreting (through words or images or other creative expression) that allows (in my mind) a more nuanced  and emotionally vibrant conversation to emerge around the human relationship to the land.

This was an immersive project, you did the writing as well as creating a body of work, what did you enjoy about that process?
Yeah I really enjoyed that way of working. There are some encounters in a project like this that call for a photograph, others for a words. Rarely do I find a single mode of working is the best for all situations. To have the opportunity to weave words and images together, to let them inform and come into conversation with one another allowed for a more relaxed and honest approach. Neither medium was asked to do more than I could will it to do, but through the relationship created between words and photos I feel at times a third creative form emerges in the space between them.

What did this 130 mile packraft* journey teach you about yourself as a creative?
(*it was a mix of packraft and sea kayak and hiking)
This project in particular was a good reminder to carve out longer periods of time to immerse in a landscape, to return multiple times, and to remain curious. I did a lot of research and reading prior to embarking on this project, and so came into the project with a lot of preconceptions. That was fine, important even, but then the work becomes letting go of those preconceptions in order to see what is actually there. This project reaffirmed my beliefs that the best pictures are not the ones that we set out to make – but rather the ones that find us along the way.

My role as a creative is to be disciplined and in touch with my craft in a way that allows it to be a nearly subconscious endeavor. This requires research combined with a technical and physical proficiency with the tools and in the landscapes being navigated. And then, those foundations being set, it requires a letting go, a release of preconceptions in order to actually be present and tuned to the complexities of that which is being experienced. Experiencing. In the rare instances that this is achieved I think the result is to make work that is honest. To me, that is the highest calling of the creative.

What would you tell your younger creative self?
I think actually I’m going to take some advice from my younger creative self, and give it back to my older creative self today. This is from the interview you and I did a few years back for aPhotoEditor, and it grows more true to me with each passing year:

“Do good work. Be kind to the people around you, and to yourself. Balance your idealism with healthy doses of action. Embrace failure and continually seek opportunities to learn – in whatever form or medium they might take. Question societal definitions of success. Make your own. Surround yourself with good people. And be one, as much as you can. Watch, listen, and when the time is right, act with conviction. Be willing to adapt, to move with the currents, to see from different angles, but don’t ever give up on the unique point of view that makes you you.”

Lake Powell

In the spring and summer of 2021, as Lake Powell plummeted toward its lowest recorded water levels since reaching full pool in 1980, Forest Woodward set out on a long unscripted meander through what was once Glen Canyon. Over two visits, in April and July, he sea kayaked and packrafted some 130 miles of the lake as the Colorado River muscled again through long-buried side canyons. When these images were made, the lake surface was between 3,565 and 3,559 feet, on its way down to this spring’s low of 3,522 feet—dangerously close to the level, at 3,490 feet, when the dam may no longer generate electricity. This April, the Bureau of Reclamation announced a plan to push more water down to the lake from Utah’s Flaming Gorge Dam, 730 miles upstream, while simultaneously slowing releases out of the lake from Glen Canyon Dam. Climate and drought may ultimately have the last word on Lake Powell’s future. Until then, these pictures and notes are Woodward’s attempts to hold on to threads of tangled beauty and the strange markings of a shifting world.

Images and words By Forest Woodward

April 4, 2021

I slept by the river last night. Smoked too many cigarettes. I watched a translucent spider weave a strange dance and woke to the Paria greeting the Colorado, the laughter of kindred currents gurgling downstream. Condors dozing, wings wrapped in clay, dreaming Pleistocene dreams in the cradle of a brown god that never sleeps. Breakfast in Page. Last-minute supply run, sunscreen, mezcal, apples, oats, coffee, jerky.

I have four days and a packraft, and I am fairly open to seeing where the wind and my stubby craft will take me. Emergent design if you will. In 2015, I sea kayaked 90 miles from Hall’s Crossing, on the lake’s western edge, to Glen Canyon Dam, and these two trips will mean I’ve paddled it end to end. A rather arbitrary achievement, and one that takes no account of the most interesting part—that the landscape here is never the same twice, and each canyon holds its own beauty and melancholy.

I walk out to a spot below the dam where someone not too long ago sat amidst the hum of turbines and carved the outline of a buffalo into the rock, along with an inscription that everything that was grasped by man would one day be free again. But now it’s gone.. Erased from the soft stone along with all the other marks of passing. I watch a canoe pick its way up the Colorado towards the base of the dam, slow strokes against deep current. It looks cool down there in the shade of the canyon, where the water moves again.

4.8.21
The body of a dead cow lies decomposing in the mud at the water’s edge when I arrive at Farley Canyon, on the north end of the lake. Even in the dark, I can see evidence of a struggle. I wonder how much this scene resembles what John Farley might have encountered when he ran cattle here back in the 1880s, when the Colorado River flowed free.

Trying to pinpoint the exact confluence of river and lake is a moving target, but Farley Canyon seems as good a launch point as any. Before the reservoir flooded this area, Utah State Route 95 crossed the river here, and I figure I can put in at the mouth of the canyon. In the morning, I push off past the dead cow and a couple fishing for largemouth bass. Swamp Donkey Jill, one introduces herself, and offers me some live bait. “Usually the lake’s coming up a foot a day right now,” she says. “It’s sad to see.” She motions towards the mud rings that stretch some 80 feet up from the water’s edge. It’s hard to imagine that a post office and general store sit somewhere under all this silt.

I paddle for a mile, only to find that this finger of the reservoir is orphaned, cut off from the main body of Powell by the receding water. I pack my boat up and hike across mud flats. I check my GPS. It shows me in the middle of the reservoir, surrounded by water on all sides. I look back down at the cracked mud below my feet and walk on, avoiding bubbling sinkholes and gaping cracks between shifting mud pillars. Eventually I reach water. Water moving swiftly in the form of a river. Still no lake.

Unsure of what lies ahead, I cautiously put in, floating quickly through high banks of silt. After a couple miles, the river widens, rushing shallow and fast across riffles of sand. The movement swirls me into a fitful sort of calm, punctuated by the splash of carp and the awkward flapping of seagulls and pelicans. Bewildered and excited, I paddle on until dark and make camp beneath a large sandstone formation called Castle Butte.

The names we name things are telling of our ambitions.

4.9.21

Nothing is fixed, nothing is quite as it seems. All of the death out here—the cow, the drowned cottonwoods, the fish turned wrong side up—is evidence of that, evidence of how this place is ever so slightly out of balance. It is something felt, that can’t be seen from a plane or a boat. You have to get mired in the mud. Struggle to escape. Clamber up rock after rock covered in sun-bleached quagga mussel shells, razor-encrusted tombstones of the nonnative species that have infested Powell. You have to see the death, smell it, hear the buzz of flies, the stench of stagnation. You must also hear the raven’s laughter and the fighter-jet hum of ducks landing in isolated sink pools, the juvenile heron shitting himself as he cautiously learns to hunt, the trio of otters, the coyote who trots away out across the mud flats, seemingly quite content with the state of things.

4.10.21

I stop for lunch at a nondescript break in the rocks. Nudge a beer can out of the mud with my foot. Wonder who held it last and when. Turning it over in my hands, one side is bleached by sun and water, the other side looks like it could have been set down yesterday. I can barely make out the words “Good Luck” in faded print below a logo of a horseshoe. Good luck to whom, I wonder? To the person who threw it overboard? To the one who finds it? To the waters that covered it? To the drought that revealed it? To Glen Canyon? To Lake Powell? I flip the can end over end. Horseshoe

up, goodluck, horseshoe down, bad luck. Or is it the other way round? I wonder at this place, at the way it holds paradox. Does a thing have to be lost to be loved, destroyed to be appreciated? I toss the beer can into the bow of the boat. Horseshoe up, let’s hope we catch some luck—whatever that is.

4.11.21
I don’t think I possess the language to properly convey the strangeness of paddling through the desert as cliffs of sand calve like glaciers around you, rounding a bend only to be greeted by flocks of pelicans and a stagnant lake.

From my camp at the confluence of river and lake, I survey an old uranium-mining road running along the base of an imposing band of red Wingate cliffs, leading back to where my truck is parked. I expected to be able to paddle back to my launch point, no walking needed. But there’s a metaphor here about best-laid plans. The need to adapt. What happens when our best-laid plans rest on a flawed foundation? What does the West look like without her brimming reservoirs?

Me, I can just pack down the raft, strap it to my pack, and hike back the way I came. If only everything were that easy.

7.8.21
My packraft had proved about as efficient in the wind-chopped lake as a unicycle in quicksand, and for my trip in July, I find an old British sea kayak on Craigslist and head for the old Hite boat ramp, four miles upriver from Farley Canyon.

There is no lake now, just sand and rock and the muddy muscular flow of the Colorado carrying the last winter snowpack out of the high country. The flow carries me quickly through the layers of lakebed, 30-foot mud gendarmes calving like rotten glaciers into the flow. I stay towards the middle of the channel, bobbing over 5-foot standing waves carved from the sandy bottom. Dust devils tower and dive. A coyote carefully leads her pups down to the river to drink, scrambling away to a safe distance when she sees me. Rich green grasses have sprouted across the silt plain, and a rogue herd of cattle pause their meal to watch me pass.

Later, I will sit quietly at the head of the lake and watch as three otters play on the long mud banks below Wingate cliffs. This feeling of quiet and space will change as I move down into the reservoir, closer to the marina traffic and weekend crowds, but here, in this landscape of flux, I feel acutely aware of my human presence.

7.9.21
You try to come to a place properly. To greet the raven at the canyon’s mouth. To whistle with the wren as she sits on the lone branch. To walk slowly. To look about. There is a gravity to some places that is felt, not spoken or measured. You give a prayer of thanks; whatever that means to you.

I find the first feather in Ticaboo Canyon, a raven tail, and place it as an offering by the dark pool. The second feather is covered in mud, hung up in some branches. Raven wing. I place it in the creek to rest. The third feather is unmarred, as if just left, curled upwards, the down of a dark chest, I think. I hesitate. Look around. Reaching for it, I place my thumb and forefinger gently on the quill. As I lift it, I hear the raucous calls of a pair of ravens watching from downcanyon. I do not know what they are saying. I don’t know the difference between a good and bad omen, only that it is an omen.

7.10.21
I wake to the sound of wind-pressed waves and the sun low but already scorching across the shimmer of the lake. Pushing off , I soon encounter a Forest Service research crew hauling in an endangered razorback sucker, monitoring the spawning range of the fish. There’s a surprising amount of animal life out here. I’m curious how when a landscape becomes less desirable for humans, it might in some ways become more desirable for other life forms.

Animals I’ve encountered on Lake Powell:

Ravens (a dozen)

Coyote and kits

Blue heron

Egret

American koot

Schools of stripers

Osprey

Golden eagle

Egret

Cattle

Sparrow

Bat

Swift

Weasel

Carp-eating clams

Razorback sucker

Lizards, 4 species

Otter

Human

7.10.11
Walking up from the water’s edge in the side channels of Moki Canyon is a walk through the many cultures of spring breakers that have come and gone here. Glow sticks. Sunglasses. Beach towels, a boomerang, ice bags, squattie potties. These canyons are sacred to many peoples, but none more so perhaps than the spring breakers—at least that is if we are to judge by the artifacts. I grew up on stories of Glen Canyon, but even if the reservoir were to fully drain, it would still leave us with a silted shifting world, far from the Glen Canyon of waterfalls and hanging gardens known by the ancestral Puebloans. I kick at a half-buried piece of towel, unearthing a red Solo cup.

It’s interesting how unaware of their wake people are. In one narrow stretch of canyon, a beefed-out wakeboarding boat throttles past me, shouting out a request for directions, which I give them with the motion of a hand. They wave a friendly thanks, disappearing around the bend as their 4-foot wake ricochets off the canyon walls and threatens to swamp my little craft. They mean no malice—they’re just unaware of their effect, the reciprocity between them and water and rock and me. Somewhere in there I suppose there’s a lesson. We all drive big boats some days.

7.11.21

I race a houseboat from Forgotten Canyon, where the ancient Defiance House sits just above the bathtub ring, to Moki Point. I don’t think they know we are racing, but still I win, and that feels good. I swim in the lake—well, I fall in, trying to get water, but it’s my first swim after many trips here, and it feels nice. The lake is a place of reciprocity, it seems. I pick an old Coors can out of the mud, and not ten minutes later am gifted a full Dr Pepper (my favorite!) floating in a side channel. Maybe the canyon is more like the giving tree—giving a place to keep water, then giving the water away.

People talk about caring about the earth, but what they’re usually talking about is caring about a select few playgrounds, curated parks where they climb or bike or hunt. Would we believe someone who said they loved us but only ever saw us dressed up for Sunday service? To really care for something, we’ve got to become acquainted with all sides of it—the dark, the ugly, and the painful alongside the beauty and softness. In my mind, if I’m going to say I love nature, I’ve got to go out and into these seemingly desecrated landscapes and see if I can sit within them, with the discomfort.

I struggle the 12 miles from Moki Canyon to Bullfrog Marina in a heavy headwind and stash my boat in a cove. The bustling energy feels harsh as I walk down the baking asphalt to the restaurant overlooking the marina. I slurp up a cold beer and fork down a salad, watching the Stanley Cup Finals as the sun ripples red gold across pockets of orphaned reservoir.

As I’m finishing my third beer and getting ready to head back down to my bivy bag, an older couple from Salt Lake City sidles up to watch the game. We get to talking about the glory days, decades past, when the reservoir sat high and proud on the land. They’re water skiers, and they tell stories of carving cursive lines across glassy expanses of water under deep redrock walls, secret canyons and sprawling bays blossoming up from dry earth. A place of endless possibility.

The water skiers mourn the reservoir of thirty years ago. I mourn the Glen Canyon I never knew. And while I get the feeling our political beliefs might be polar opposite, we sit here over our beers looking out onto a lake that is now miles away from where it once lapped at this deck, and we agree, this is sad. Ugly, beautiful, changing, and sad.

We agree the water is leaving the West, and something must be done. We agree that as long as this water is tied up in money, it will be difficult for people to agree what to do with it.

We agree that it would be better if more people understood the finite nature of the systems that support life in the American West. Water is what allows us to be here. When it runs out, so does our time on this land.

The Daily Edit: Ecru: Pam Lau

Photograph by Gladys Lou (2021)
Photograph by Kat Castro (2021)
Photograph by Mark Gallardo (2021)


Ecru


Founders: Pam Lau and Jimmy Vi

How did you and Jimmy meet and is this your first collaboration?
Pam: Jimmy and I met at a photowalk in 2016. At the time we were part of two different grassroots community arts groups in Toronto. Over the years I watched him quit his job as an art director in advertising, teach himself filmmaking, and transition into a music video and commercial director.

In 2019 we loosely explored starting an agency together and called it Ecru. We ran into the typical problems; we lacked strategy and direction. We were all creative people and we had no business dev, ops, or finance. We were just friends that wanted to work on projects together. One of us, Kerwin, ended up branching off and starting his own creative studio

Jimmy and I decided to pivot Ecru away from creative services and instead focus on mentorship and community building.

Tell us about the name of the program.
Jimmy came up with that one. It was 11:55 p.m. We had just spent something like 10 hours working on the grant application, and we had five minutes to come up with a name before the deadline closed. We started rapid-fire brainstorming options and this one was short and catchy enough.

How did this free program come about?
We applied for a grant through ArtReach; a funder via Toronto Arts Council and the City of Toronto mandated to support high-quality arts-making programming for marginalised youth. It took us three tries; the first two years we were rejected. After each time we sought feedback and reworked the program and in 2021 we received funding to pilot the first cohort of ‘Ideas From I’.

The 2021 grant covered 5-9 participants. We received funds from a private donor and were able to expand to 12 participants and offer mico-grants to put towards development of the concepts they made the treatment decks for in the program. This year we’ve received the next phase of funding from ArtReach and have a partnership with Gallery 44 in Toronto where participants can get access to studio space and gear to shoot their projects in the Fall.

How did your career in photography get started and what are you hoping to build with this program?
I’m self-taught and started taking photos in high school, never thinking that I could turn it into a career. I started freelancing during school because I always had a camera on me, and after graduation, I started working at a trade publication called Marketing magazine (acquired by Strategy magazine) that reported on the Canadian marketing, media, and advertising industry. I got to sit in on CDs deliberating over what creative was award-winning and I started to build my network from the conferences and trade shows that I covered.

It was very lonely in the beginning of my freelance career and I felt like I had nobody in my corner. Jimmy and I talked about the stress and high-pressure we put on ourselves to make it work, when it felt nearly impossible. I’m starting to recognize it now as a lack of internal validation after growing up feeling guilty or divergent for wanting something other than what others expected of me. The words “You can do it” and “I believe in you” are extremely powerful when said earnestly. With this program we want to be that extension of support that our younger selves lacked for the next generation.

How does one get involved?
Follow us on Instagram (@ecru.club), check out the application form, and send it to someone who comes to mind. We’re also looking to bulk up the micro-grant portion and are open to sponsorship and donations from individuals, production houses, agencies and brands that identify with the goals of the program.
application form is here

Where can find out the specifics of the program?
We’re sharing the application form, testimonials from alum, and answering questions this week on Instagram at @ecru.club.

What does the program offer?
As photographers and directors, vision and concept is at the core of what we do. ‘Ideas From I’ teaches the importance of communicating your ideas through imagery and words. Participants learn about referencing and develop a concept by analysing and drawing a personal connection to what media and art they respond to.

We walk them through creating a treatment deck and effectively pitching it, and support them through the groundwork of pre-production by offering the resources for them to bring their idea to life. We support a range of experience because even if you don’t know how to technically execute something yourself, you can find collaborators and bring a team together that can make it happen.

Most of all, we’re doing it in an environment where we want participants to feel seen, heard, respected, and validated.

 

The Daily Edit – GEO Magazine: Storm Chasers by Laure Andrillon

 


Geo Magazine

Photographer: Laure Andrillon
Producer: Nadège Monschau
Photo Editors: Nataly Bideau and Magdalena Herrera 

Heidi: How did this assignment with GEO come about?
Laure: I pitched a story idea about storm chasing to GEO in December and this reporting trip happened in May of 2021, which is the beginning of the chasing season in the Tornado Alley. The magazine was interested in the idea of extreme tourism but also intrigued by the environmental aspect of the story, as storm chasers often contribute to field research around tornadoes and their behaviors. There is a lot of unknown when working on such a story. I couldn’t really tell my editors beforehand where we would go, what kind of landscapes to expect, because there is no set route and we would just follow the weather. Although we all hoped I would get to witness a tornado, nothing was certain. Pretty early on, we decided to make this a first-person story about the experience itself: my editors told me to photograph the waiting as much as the thrills, and to take a lot of notes about smells, varying temperatures, whether the air felt humid or dry, in order for my captions to convey a sensory experience.

Did they introduce you to the meteorologists?
I did some research online and had multiple phone conversations with several meteorologists before I decided to travel with Lanny Dean, a 46 years old storm chaser from Oklahoma. He was experienced (he had already witnessed about 600 tornadoes when I met him), good at explaining the scientific side of his job and importantly, he really was a character. He usually only takes 3-4 guests at a time and likes to get to know them really well, so I thought I would be able to tell his personal story and also understand why his guests were fascinated by storms to the point of dedicating their only annual vacation to chase them.

How long was this assignment?
The tour itself was a week long so my total traveling time from California was around ten days. I initially thought of this as a one-off assignment but it may become part of a long term project about alternative ways to experience the wilderness.

How did you earn their trust?
We drove about 1700 miles together, so it gives you quite a bit of time to chat. There were two storm chasers, Lanny Dean and Tyler Schlitt, their three guests, and me. We would share meals, stretch our legs together at every gas station. We tried to laugh together at our own disappointment when a gigantic supercell turned into nothing before our eyes, or when we failed to see a rare cold-air funnel cloud because it took us to long to get out of the van. When we experienced our first tornado from up close, in McAlester, Oklahoma, it created a deep bond between the other guests and I. It was a dream for them and I was there to see it fulfilled. There was a lot of joy but also an element of fear. It is a very unique experience to share with someone.

How did the project inform your photography moving forward?
This project encouraged me to pay more attention to the quiet moments when I photograph. I knew a lot of talented and fierce photographers had already captured the tornadoes in a way I wouldn’t be able to achieve with no previous chasing experience and with so little time. My editors at GEO wanted me to convey the internal feeling of searching for the tornadoes and to give a glimpse of the other side of storm chasing: it’s not always glamorous!

I know you recently finish the program at ICP, what are your future photo goals?
I just moved back to San Francisco after I graduated from the documentary photography program at the International Center of Photography in New York City. I am hoping to find a balance between doing assignment work and developing long term projects. I am mostly interested in stories about the environment, health and aging, and the exploration of alternative lifestyles. I am currently preparing for two exhibitions in the Fall, at the Encontros da Imagem photo festival in Braga, Portugal, and at the Festival for Ethical Photography in Lodi, Italy. I am very excited to explore different spaces where my projects can live: in magazines, on social media, on gallery walls and in public spaces. It gives me the opportunity to work with a variety of editors that often have very different perspectives on my work, which makes it a very good learning experience.

The Daily Edit – Roe v Wade: Kate Fanning


Roe v Wade: Denver Protest: Patagonia

Photographer: Kate Fanning

Heidi: How would you define your photography style?
Kate: I would describe my style as honest. I’m not interested in perfect or highly manipulated images. There’s no grit there, no story. I want my work to represent and feel like the moment I was in. While I want viewers to see the way I see things, more importantly, I want them to decide how my images make them think or feel.

What moments appealed to your eye?
Opposites. Moments of juxtaposition. Messages written on the backs of signs, while the sign-holders moved forward. Fluorescent flashes of cardboard against heavy, black clouds. Mighty impactful phrases with so few words. A bright, rainbow pride flag, draped across the gloomy, gray facade of our Capitol building – a beacon of hope for equality, while standing in the trenches of inequality.

What moved you the most about this story? 
The American flag flying upside down. It was a gut-punch that I wasn’t expecting. I’m a Daughter of the American Revolution, and I come from a long line of veterans. Respect for our flag and country was instilled in me from a young age. When I wanted to buy Chuck Taylors in the eighth grade with an American flag print, my Mom said, “I won’t let you wear something on your feet that we fought so hard to defend.” I stood at my Father’s and Grandfather’s gravesites, listened 21-gun salutes that dropped me to my knees, and watched as their flags were lifted off their coffins, folded with such meticulous care and finally, handed over. My siblings and I grew up as flag code defenders, and I know what it means to fly it upside down. When I saw those stars waving in the wrong spot, I felt it – we’re in trouble.

What surprised you the most about this project?
Most surprisingly, were the intimate details that women so courageously shared. Stories of their lives scribbled with Sharpies on posters that lined a stormy sky. Skystories, I thought. Stories of loss, stories of rape, stories of religion, politics, grief, and anger. Stories that had nowhere else to go, except for up. I found myself wanting to tell everyone ‘thank you’. Thank you for sharing your trauma, thank you for showing up, thank you for fighting for the least of us, thank you for not quitting…please…don’t quit.

What do you hope for, for those who can become pregnant?
I hope it’s their choice. I hope their family is supported. I hope they get to raise children in a country that values babies AND parents. I hope their kids don’t grow up to fight this same damn fight.

The Daily Edit – TIME: Hugh Kretschmer

TIME

Creative Director: DW Pine
Photographer: Hugh Kretschmer

Heidi: How did the idea for Plastic Waves come about?
Hugh: I had been working on a personal environmental project around water using recycled, repurposed, or rejected plastic sculpted into water effects. I would take the sculptures to specific locations and photograph them in the right light.After about a year, I saw a Robert Longo charcoal drawing at a gallery here in LA, and that was when the idea for Plastic “Waves” hit me. The artwork was from his Epic Wave series, and his masterful rendering of texture made me think of plastic garbage bags. Although a completely different interpretation, this one image out of the series is closest to one of Longo’s waves. It’s the one I saw in the gallery that day. Since then, I’ve shifted away from that first project, titled Mirage, and solely working on the Plastic “Waves” series.

Where did you photograph the sculpture? ( it looks like the wave is built in two pieces)
It was during the early days of the pandemic when every public outdoor space was off-limits, and the beach where I photographed the first one was on that list. So, I had to hike the sculpture and gear up to a fire road near where I live in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s a remote trail that was closed, but I set up behind a bend at the foot of the trailhead, out of view. Yes, this sculpture was designed in two parts. I wanted to force depth in the image and frame the smaller section in the foreground and close to the lens. It gives the perspective that feels as if you’re swimming in the ocean, watching the wave go by.

What did you use for the waves and the wave’s foam and spray?
The process starts with chipboard as the base that defines the overall shape. Then repurposed pillow batting is applied to the surface, giving the sculpture visual volume. On top of that, I lay an aluminum screen over the entire area that is visible to the camera. The screen provides tooth for the next application, paper pulp made from old newspapers combined with a binder. Once it dries, I laminate black plastic garbage bags to the surface using a spray mount and a hairdryer.

The last step is the most time-consuming: recreating the foam and spray. It’s critical because that is where the eye goes first; the details must be as realistic as possible. That area is made from a translucent garbage bag of different thicknesses, each serving a particular purpose. The foam is loosely crumpled from a thicker plastic to hold its shape, while the spray is made from a thinner version. The spray is where most of my time is spent. I make hundreds of little pompoms that I hot glue to the surface and add hundreds of longer ones that I speckle throughout. During capture, I use a neutral density filter, small aperture, long shutter speed, and an electric leaf blower that gives off the illusion of motion to the spray.

How much testing did you do with the plastic bags?
I didn’t test the plastic bags so much as learn how to turn a 2D artwork into a 3D sculpture. The first wave I attempted resulted in four iterations before I could get it right. That means starting over from scratch each time. I’ve gotten a lot better at controlling the issues by altering the techniques I use and having a complete understanding of what types of bags work best for each area of the sculpture I’m working on. Ultimately, it is all about the light and reflection and how it interacts with the particular garbage bags. I’ve been at this for a while and now design the waves in a specific way depending on the light at any given point in the year. The wave’s design has to be oriented to the right for summer projects, while the winter months require it to face the opposite direction.

What was most challenging about the build for the cover image and the wave image?
Creative Director DW Pines selected a photo from 2020, and I didn’t explicitly create it for the cover. He had already designed the cover with my image and sent it to me with his initial inquiry. But he asked about creating a shot in the week we had, but I told him they can take weeks, sometimes months, to make, and there wasn’t enough time. And time is the most challenging aspect of this work. The process has a mind of its own and is unpredictable, and is due to the materials I use not bending the way I want. However, I’ve changed the techniques to work around those issues. The capture phase of the project is also a challenge because I usually end up photographing the sculpture four or five times before I feel it’s right. Until the sculpture is ready to be photographed, I haven’t seen the sculpture in the intended lighting, and that’s when all the flaws and issues appear. So, I’ll bring it back to the shop, make the necessary changes, take it back to the beach and try again.

What was your intent for these images?
One point I’d like to share is my intent for these projects. Plastic “Waves” and Mirage were both started because I wanted my work to have a purpose, and environmental causes are what these projects’ primary objective is geared towards. I want to benefit nonprofits devoted to water conservation through gallery print and book sales. This syndication is my first opportunity to do so, and I’m very proud to be writing that first check.

The Daily Edit – Dawn Kish photographs Glen Canyon

Dawn Kish

Heidi: How did that camera find its way to you?
Dawn: A few years ago, my friend Richard Jackson and I were working on a large format project together. Jackson is a master printer and makes beautiful photographic prints. Out of the blue he hands me this old Crown Graphic 4×5 camera and says, “Would you be interested in using this camera? It belonged to Tad Nichols.” My jaw dropped. I am a huge fan of Tad’s work and feel like he is the Ansel Adams of Glen Canyon. He photographed Glen Canyon in the 1950’s before it was buried under a watery tomb called Lake Powell. Tad documented the pre-damed canyon with this camera and he did 16mm motion pictures as well.  In 1998, there was a big push to get these important photos published and get his archive to Northern Arizona University (NAU). Tad and Richard became friends on a river trip many years before and he became the printer for his book, Glen Canyon-Images of a Lost World.  Tad passed away in 1999 and bequeathed this camera to Richard.

I told Richard, “No thank you, I’m worried I would harm this historical camera.” This offer made me nervous but I was also elated, but I said, “I’ll borrow it when I have a good project for it.” Well, 2 years later, Glen Canyon started to emerge and Lake Powell’s water levels are at its all time low since the fill up of the reservoir in 1963. Finally, I’ll go see Glen Canyon, a place I never thought I would experience in my life time except in books, photographs, films and Katie Lee songs. And I’ll take TAD (the Crown Graphic) with me. WHOOP!

Why was this body of work important for you to document?
This is a project of LOVE. The love for nature, photography, adventure and the historic significance. I can’t believe this happening. I feel it is my most important work yet to date. Plus, I’m from the Southwest and want to help preserve this iconic landscape. Tad spent time photographing pre-dam Glen Canyon, dam construction, and the resulting formation of Lake Powell with his 4×5



How much did Tads work from Glen Canyon: Images of a Lost World inform your body of work?

His book is definitely is an inspiration. I didn’t go back and recreate his work. I went back to explore and expose what I found and let creativity guide me. This is a creative project and not a replica of the old and new. Though, I do believe there are a few people doing this type of work. The book was my guide and Tad’s spirit to create art and advocacy for our public lands.

Since there’s a significant time and water gap, was it challenging to find the location?
It is still a giant lake. There is still 300 feet of water till you hit the river channel in the deepest parts. But the very outside of the lake is being exposed so you do have a glimpse of what was buried. I feel so honored to get to these places. Glen Canyon is massive and many side canyon fall into it. The logistics are overwhelming and feel I got just a glimpse of what is to be discovered. Tad documented the canyon for over 10 years. I have had 5 journeys by boat so far, that added up to about 12 days on using the camera in the field. I used Gaia maps and marked waypoints of the places on the map that I took the photos. All most all the images look like they are taken underwater by todays maps. Looks like I needed underwater housing and some scuba gear to get the shots.

Just trying to get on the lake there were delays and mishaps of all sorts – bad weather (fucking wind that turns the lake into an ocean), forest fires, road closures, ramp closures, running out of gas, breaking tents, sand in the cameras, sand in your crotch…I’m sure you get the idea. Hahaha. The place is over whelming but over all worth it. The beauty keeps calling me back.

If you were able to connect with Tad, what would your message to him be?
I would thank him for his determination in trying to save this beautiful canyon and documenting this natural wonder before it was all gone. I would tell him I’m going to Glen Canyon with his camera and called it “TAD”. To be honest, I talk to camera all the time when I’m making photos. I ask him to guide me and I usually take a huge breath when I release the trigger cable. I got a little nervous making the exposers on real film. I made sure I backed up my images with my Nikon. You don’t want to mess up because it is not a place you can return to so easily. There is a lot of money and time that goes into one exposer. So I try to relax, concentrate, breathe and talk to Tad and enjoy the beauty of the canyon.

What conservation groups did you work with for this project?
I am involved with the Glen Canyon Institute (GCI) and NAU archive to prepare exhibits about the emergence of Glen Canyon. The work will have an art advocacy message and a percentage of the print profits will go back into these non-profits.  If anyone would like a print they are available. I hope to get a book rolling too but not sure how to do this. I’ve never done a book before but i’m up for the challenge.

What’s your goal with this project?
My goal is to inspire people to not make the same mistake again and fight for our natural world. David Brower, CEO of the Sierra Club during the 1960’s, said, “This was my biggest mistake to let Glen Canyon go under.”

I also started a very personal heart felt film about the making of this project called, Tad’s Emerging World.  I’ll be submitting it to film festivals end of July.

The Daily Edit – Cliford Mervil: Outside Magazine


Outside Magazine

 

Design & Photography Director: Hannah McCaughey
Photo Editor: Kyra Kennedy
Photographer: Cliford Mervil

 

Heidi: How did this cover idea come about? 
Kyra: When we got the list of places for our travel section I was excited to see North Carolina on the list. I had worked with Clif last summer on a project based in NC, and had really wanted to find another to work with him on. The entire cover idea mostly came from working with Clif and getting to priorize a part of the country we dont often cover. We end up doing a lot of shoots in CA because the weather is so consistent, but I really like when we are able to highlight other parts of the country that have fantastic adventure opportunities!

Was this cover image a first for Outside magazine? 
Clif had sent us a list of local models that he had worked with before, and we instantly gravitated towards Ron Griswell’s amazing energy and smile! We thought it would be great to have two people on the cover and when Ron suggested his wife Linea we thought it would be so much more natural to have them pose together instead of putting Ron with another model. It was Outside’s first cover with a Black couple, and I’m really happy that we were able to have Ron and Linea because their relationship is truly something for all of us to aspire to. They have such an intuitive relationship and such strong love for each other which really comes across in Clif’s images. Since the three of them are friends in real life, we ended up with such authentic and fun images.

Outside Magazine, in my opinion, has not always been the most inclusive space, and I wish a cover like this one had been a first a long time ago. We’ve made good strides in the past few years, and I am working towards making covers (and interior content) like this one a constant. Everyone should feel represented, because everyone should be able to feel safe and comfortable in the outdoors. I hope that by having more covers like this one, we can help chip away at the idea that BIPOC people aren’t active in the outdoors. They are, they just haven’t been represented in the outdoor media and I want to help change that mentality as much as I can.

What type of direction did you give Clif? 
Clif is a dream to work with because there isnt too much direction needed! I tend to hire photographers who have a strong voice already present in their images, but it’s also great to be able to collaborate! I had a few ideas coming in, which Clif and I discussed before set up, and then he would just roll with it. Over direction can sometimes stop a spontaneous and perfect moment and I never want to get in the way of that! It’s a balance, but working with someone like Clif helps because the energy he is bringing to the images is always undeniable!
What agency did you use to cast the models and what were you looking for? We were pretty grassroots for this one! Clif sent us a list of models he has worked with since we wanted the images to feel natural. We dont usually work with agencies mostly because we want the models we work with to be people who love being outside and feel comfortable with outdoor activities. It’s nice to work with models who havent done a lot of traditional modeling as well, sometimes with agency models they know their angles so well the images lose a bit of unplanned magic.

When you are hiring BIPOC photographers, what are your resources?
I use the Diversify Photo database pretty often, as well as the databases for Indigenous Photo and Women Photograph. Ive also fully embraced that being a photo editor is a lot of detective work, so I’m constantly trying to see who other magazines/newspapers are working with, and finding new people on instagram. (Is this what you mean or do you mean resources in another way?)

The first photo I saw of Clif’s was of a model boarding down a dune at Great Sand Dunes, and it just made me smile, the whole image had so much fun energy. I had just started at Outside, and was trying to build up a roster of photographers that I thought fit the brand well and that I wanted to work with eventually. It took me a while to get on my feet at Outside, especially since a lot of stories had already been assigned when I started, but Clif has been a photographer I had wanted to work with from the beginning!

The Daily Edit – Hans Johnson

Photographer: Hans Johnson

Heidi: How did this project align with your personal objectives as a photographer?
Hans: I have been shooting as an action/adventure photographer for a long time.  For the most part my work has been pretty much the same as a lot of photographers in that world (only from a Midwest perspective).  Action adventure, generally backcountry based, generally young white males etc.

14 years ago, my wife and I became parents of Tae, a Korean adoptee.  Being a part of an inter-racial family just blew apart all that I knew in my world.  I have literally been a part of or working in the Outdoor Industry since I was 12.  Yet, the idea that the industry was literally doing nothing to portray people of color in any way shape or form became starkly evident to me as I was trying to inspire my own kid to love being outside like my wife and I do.  Where his role models? I wrote about this in this piece for The Adventure Journal.  Yet as a White Male I felt my voice was irrelevant, mainly because I was the very image of the problem people of color were dealing with in the industry, I didn’t know how to be an ally. Then I realized as a photographer I could use the space I was being given to make change by taking images of BIPOC folks who were out getting after it.  I had a choice on where I focused my lens, and I had the contacts within the industry to make those images public.  Mind you this was all well before the murder of George Floyd which has since spurred more change and more energy in this realm.

 

The Outdoor Industry and the cycling industry at the time kept saying (and still is saying) why are there not more BIPOC folks in Outdoor Recreation. The fact is that they are out there in force and always have been, the industry just wasn’t committing to telling the real narrative. Again, as a straight White Male I also realized I was what BIPOC and LGBTQ folks feared and that I must build long term, trusting and lasting relationships with my subjects long before I even got to the idea of creating images of them in their play spaces outdoors.

So, I did and am doing, just that, and I have made it a point to get out of my own insular space in white society and started reaching out to folks and building relationships and building friends with people who I now consider to be family, both to me and to my son. I am extremely thankful to my friends who took the time and energy to work with me and educate me and to just be my friends.That’s a long answer to a short question, but when I was asked to take Alexandera’s portrait, I was honored, I was humbled, and I was also nervous because it’s a lot of responsibility to help tell a story as important as hers is and I also knew the length I had traveled to try and do this work in way that honored her.

Tell us about this portrait.
I had exactly an hour or so to take Alexandera’s portrait.  Originally, we had more time to do it, but weather kept shutting us down.  Finally, we had a day with decent light, and we went for it.  The only issue was that it was also the first day of the Wild Rice Season and Alexandera had to be ricing later that morning.  Wild Rice is the foundation of the Anishinaabe world view, its importance to their culture can’t be overstated. So, I was under pressure to find some locations and fast.

We were talking a lot about Wild Rice and its importance to her and to her tribe. We were also talking a lot about her challenges with making a living at cycling and her need to find brands that supported her but that also met her need to be true to her identity and her values as a Native person.  

How much time did you ride with Alexandera before you pulled out the camera?
We rode up a pretty good climb, maybe the biggest climb in Duluth, which may sound funny to say, but we have some decent vertical here due to Lake Superior.  Alexandera rides a singlespeed, and her main bike was down for repairs and the bike she rode had a pretty big gear, but she hammered it all the same!  We were warmed up ha! Her with her big gear and me with my big camera pack!

Did you scout the location prior to the shoot?
I did scout the location before we shot it.   I am lucky in the fact that the trail system we shot on was my own personal baby as trails advocate in town.  One of the trails is even named after me. I was intimate with the setting.  That said, I did go in the week before to look at my locations, sun angles and foliage to make sure I could get a decent set of frames when we met.  Shooting in deep canopy is an issue photographers must grapple with here in the Midwest and over time I have come to grips with how to use it in my favor and being intentional is rule number one.

What do you hope your photography does to remind folks that this area as an outdoor mecca and not a flyover country and flat as a board?
This is essentially my main goal as a photographer.  I have lived all over the world.  Europe, Rocky Mountains, East coast.  Yet I have always come home to where I am from. That’s because my extended family is here, its because I love Midwesterners and Minnesotans in general because of their soft-spoken attitudes and because I find it visually to be a really amazing place.  I always say that there is discrimination and stereotyping of people, but there is also discrimination and stereotyping of place.

The Midwest has been beaten down and ignored forever and especially when it comes to adventure sport.  My goal is to dispel that and to engage my viewer to the point where they can’t ignore the visual fascination they have with an image I have produced.  That’s not easy to do.  As all photographers know, your eye sees one thing and the lens another and sometimes even the most insanely cool spot comes out boring as hell in an image.

I must work doubly hard to collect images that can play on a national stage. The reality is that there are some amazing zones here, many that are threatened by development, mining and all the other outside forces that could destroy these places and experiences forever.  They need to be highlighted.  Both to build a national constituency, but also amazingly to prove to local Midwesterners that they live somewhere special, and they need to protect it.  Sounds crazy right?  But again, the marketing out there has so built this idea that to be adventurous you need to be in the mountains, right? Nope.


What are you up to these days?
Surviving ha!  While I would love to say that photography is my one gig, that is not true.  I work a full-time job as the Engagement Director for The Minnesota Land Trust (which involves a lot of photography!) plus being a husband and the dad of a 14-year-old kid during a pandemic and during one of the most politically divisive eras of our country.  Plus trying to shoot at a level that keeps my skills honed and my name in the photo game. This summer my focus is on shooting in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  I am on the board of a nonprofit that is fighting the proposed mine near the Wilderness, and I am collecting as much content as I can for them to utilize it for social media and other campaigns.  I leave next week on a 7-day solo canoe trip into the wilderness.  Its super minimalist which is a great challenge.  I am going to try and shoot the whole thing with a Canon G5X MKII point and shoot to save weight.  It’s not the camera but the person who aims it right??  Right??  This is a continuation of some work I did with the brand Hyperlite and the Provo Brothers (Ian and Neil) last summer.
I also just finished with a week of shooting with poet/writer Riverhorse Nakadate, a Patagonia Ambassador for Flyfishing, the gig was for the Flyfish Journal.  We had a gas and quite an adventure which included bikes, rafts (swimming -unintentionally) and flyfishing in SE Minnesota’s driftless area.  While MTB and cycling have been my jam for decades, flyfishing has taken on a big focus in my work as it’s something I feel is supremely underrepresented in Minnesota and yet is unique and world class.  I have been grinding away at this work for such a long time and achieving my goals slowly but surely.  The success has been glacial but to date I have been in most of the big outdoor publications and building a solid brand, but to me the biggest success is that noted outdoor personalities like the Provo Brothers or Riverhorse are starting to come to Minnesota to work with me and that is the biggest indicator or success that I can imagine and the one I am most proud of.

The Daily Edit – Riteshuttam Uttamchandani: A Lease on Life

 

A Lease on Life

Photographer: Riteshuttam Chandani

Heidi: What inspired this series of images?
Riteshuttam: The inspiration from this series came from a certain sense of visual fatigue. We often engage with politicians pre elections, tag along and make kiss kiss handshake photos that function as extended PR and very rarey as critique. There is a very performative element to it all. So I looked around for something that would bring the politician to a neutral ground that is beyond his or her control and orchestrations. Although the posters are made for them but their final destiny is what really brought out the above.

Did your early career in newspapers influence this body of work?
Absolutely. In fact one particular evening in 2004, I was walking to work and I noticed this under construction idol that was left to dry wrapped in a poster. She looked like an actress that has stepped out of the shower with a towel wrapped around. I took one, just one quick foto as I had to rush to office dump my card and run to another gig. Also, I was always rushing and add to that, dumb and naive to realize the full scope of such a sight and it didnt register that I could build this as a body of work. It is only when I was looking at my archive in 2009, searching for some photos that I stumbled on the photo again and I was like  whoa, I had a great idea staring right at me all these years!

Has this always been an ongoing body of work?
es, and since it is not really tied to elections I can start and stop as and when I want. Its been on since 2009, lets see where it goes.

Which image was the genesis of this body of work?
The durga idol, which some guy came to my show and insisted was Lakshmi. It only proved how little he knew about it.

Will you continue to take images for this series?
Yes I will, I hope to make it into a book or a zine or give it some physical shape. Am yet to figure all that out. A lot of the visual work about politics in India revolves around personas. This one clearly doesn’t and in fact it looks at the afterlife of it, if any.

The Daily Edit – Colin Arisman: Wild Confluence Media


Photographer: Colin Arisman
Wild Confluence Media

Heidi: When you look back on your images from the PCT with a camera in hand, how did that experience influence your photographic eye?
Colin: Looking back on the PCT – I had just graduated from college, I had no job or home to go back to. The experience was basically living out of a backpack for 5 months – it was both incredibly stimulating and repetitively boring. It was a fertile environment to really immerse myself in the photographic process and build habits around shooting daily. The hike was really my first focused endeavor into photography but by the end of the trip I had really begun to understand my camera and the fundamentals through daily repetition and experimentation. Looking back through Lightroom, I’m not very excited by the photos I took. I think what the experience taught me as a photographer and filmmaker was that if I’m fully engaged by a personal experience like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail – my creative energy and motivation flows from that excitement. I was so moved by certain moments, those synchronistic experiences of being immersed in nature and I wanted to share that. I learned that a camera could be a way to communicate things that cannot be put into words.

On a practical level, the PCT taught me how to be a “dirt bag”. I decided after that experience that I wanted to become a photographer but it took most of my twenties to pick up momentum professionally and really be able to get the assignments to build my portfolio. If I didn’t have the experience in my early twenties of living out of a tent, living out of a truck, living in shared spaces with seasonal workers, I don’t think I could have survived the lean years when I wasn’t making much at all as a freelance creative. I’ve really committed to pursuing the experiences and stories that I’m passionate about and the PCT was a big part of building that habit.

 

Tell us how this image of Tamo came about.
Tamo and I had the opportunity to travel around Hokkaido, Japan a few winters back in a little camper van. We were working on a documentary film project together and after the shoot wrapped, we blocked out a few weeks to try and visit different backcountry zones around the island. Our budget for the trip was very, very shoestring. We rented the smallest van that we could afford in Tokyo and drove it all the way north, caught a ride on the ferry and finally made it to the perfect zone. We’d tour up into the mountains all day. Make it back to the van by sunset. Visit a nearby onsen, grab ramen and then sleep in the closest parking lot. It turns out that car camping is culturally accepted in Japan, so we were actually camping near other local folks doing the same thing.

After a few weeks, the trip became a wonderful blur of deep snow, gas station sushi and hot springs. Some zones in Japan are just so magical. The snow is so deep and fresh – it is clinging to everything. Skinning up through the ancient birch forests feels just as rewarding as dropping in and going down. This big shelf fungus gave us a laugh, mid way up a tour and Tamo plopped down to pay homage and get some cover from the falling snow.

How did making the Brotherhood of Skiing inform you as a creative adventurer?
Making Brotherhood of Skiing was really an influential experience for me. Previously a lot of my work had focused on “wilderness” and spaces that are mostly absent of people. The National Brotherhood of Skiers is really about community, connection, and celebration through being outdoors together. The opportunity to hang out with NBS showed me how much that kindness, inclusion and joy is often missing from predominantly white recreation spaces. There is just some much love when NBS hits the slopes. After that film I started looking more carefully at what stories I wanted to work on and whose voices were a priority to amplify. It’s about equity in representation but also about keeping the creative experience fun and how much the process can flow when the folks in front of and behind the camera are resonating.

What are you working on now?
This summer I’m working with my partner to finish a remote cabin in the Tongass Rainforest in Alaska. My partner Elsa grew up here in coastal Alaska and part of putting roots down is a commitment to the visual storytelling that we think will benefit this community. I’m trusting that prioritizing personal experience over chasing jobs, will lead me professionally where I’m meant to go. I want to let my creativity flow from what I’m excited about in my life. A lot of my work right now is around documenting maritime and fishing culture. A new wave of Alaskans are striving to live in balance with the land after the decades of industrial excess and exploitation in Alaska. I strive for my photography in Alaska to be a celebration of that movement and the reciprocity between people and land.

The Daily Edit – Pit Magazine: Holly Cratford


Pit Magazine

Founder and Art Director: Holly Catford
Founder: Helen Graves
Founder Rob Billington

Heidi: How did Pit and Cheese magazine come about?
Holly: I started Pit with Helen Graves and Robert Billington in 2017, it was an idea I’d been thinking about for a long time and was a huge fan of Helen’s blog (foodstories) and so emailed her to go for a beer and basically we just never stopped drinking beers and having a lovely time together! Rob I’d met commissioning him for a story in Noble Rot (that I art directed with Jeremy Leslie from Magculture a million years ago) and we got on like a house on fire too so he seemed like a perfect third partner. Five years later we’re on our 12th issue and attempting to work out how we can get our little side project to start paying us. As a team we worked on Helen’s first book, Live Fire.

Cheese was started in lockdown, I’d worked with Anna Sulan Masing on another little digital magazine/event. She tweeted late one night (not sure if there was any wine involved) about wanting a cheese magazine, so I replied saying we should do it. It turns out Apoorva Siripathi had done the same thing, so we just thought we should give it a shot. We’re working on the third issue now.

How did you get your start in magazines?
When I graduated in 2012 I got a weeks work experience at Esterson Associates with Simon Esterson. I just never left. As a studio we specialise in editorial design, Simon’s been running the studio for several years. I’m very, very lucky to have been able to come along and work on such amazing projects together, I’ve learn everything I know from him. He also owns and runs Eye magazine with John L. Walters, so I also get to work on that which is every graphic designers dream. Looking back on my student work, I can see my love for editorial in everything I do. I was constantly putting together books and publications asking friends to do illustrations and take photographs, interviewing people, while everyone else did posters and logos.

You work on a variety of other titles, are you art directing and designing them all?
I’m the art director of History Today, Pit and Cheese. The art editor of Eye, Pulp and Museums Journal.

What kind of circulation do you have for cheese and Pit?
Both are 2000 copies.

How did this potato cover idea unfold?
We wanted to put the British classic the potato smiley on the cover, and then me and Rob started talking about ‘iconic potatos’ and thought of Mr Potato Head. The idea sort of spiraled from there, I bought a few potato head sets from ebay and then tried to find potatoes which would look like ourselves. Each one is a member of the team Polly (Holly), Bob (Rob) and Melon (Helen).

Do you have a regular stable of photographers you work with?
Yes and no. I have a few people I work with really closely (Rob and Caitlin Isola) on Pit. But we work with loads of people on wider projects. Philip Sayer, David Levene, Francesco Brembati, Julian Anderson, Orlando Gili,
Suki Dhanda, Ed Park, Maria Spann… the list goes on and on. I also work really closely with Millie Simpson on History Today who is an amazing picture editor. I’m very very lucky to work with all of them.

 

The Daily Edit – Andrew Hetherington: Wired Magazine


Wired Magazine

Photo Director: Anna Goldwater Alexander
Photo Editor: Samantha Cooper and Beth Holzer

Photographer: Andrew Hetherington

Heidi: Tell us how this assignment hit home for you.
Andrew: Who would have thought as a teenager in Dublin watching the telly and seeing cyclist Greg LeMond win his first World Road Race Championship back in 1983 or his first Tour De France victory in 1986 that I would one day meet the legend, let alone take his photograph and do so in Knoxville, Tennessee of all places. Well, that 13 year old had no idea where Knoxville was and could never have dreamed any of that could or would happen.

Were you always interested and following in cycling?
Yes, I have always been a keen cyclist so in November 2020 I was super excited to see the @lemondbicycles announce on IG the release of two carbon commuter E-Bikes, the Prolog and the Dutch, to be followed in 2022 with road and gravel versions.
Greg has always been a pioneer in cycling technology and design especially when it came to the use and development of carbon fiber. Even in his racing days he was at the front of the peloton when it came to innovation, aero dynamics and geometry and launched his own manufacturing company LeMond Bicycles.Long story short and after a licensing deal with Trek, that created what would become one of the nation’s top road brands, went bad, ended up in lawsuits and was eventually settled in 2010. Greg has since pivoted to the research and development of disruptive carbon fiber technology leading to the creation of his company – LeMond Carbon

Was this assignment was a perfect mix of work and play?
So when I got an email from Beth @wired wondering if I would be up for photographing the new bikes and Greg himself for an upcoming feature in the magazine it was a no brainer yes.

How long have you been in Atlanta?
I have been based in Atlanta the last couple of years and have been road tripping to assignments throughout the south. FL, AL, LA, SC, NC, AR and TN are all well within driving distance so was an easy-ish commute to and from the location in Knoxville.

Did you get a ride in?
The weather was pretty wet that day so that limited the shoot to inside the facility and office space. Although I did get to test ride a Prolog around the assembly floor have to say it’s a winning ride as well as being an absolute looker!!!

Was was the direction from the magazine?
The creative was to shoot as much of the building and assembly process as was allowed and wasn’t top secret. Samantha Cooper who had taken over as the photo editor on the shoot from Beth by the time it became  reality put together a shot list and an image pull from my site for creative. The one must get was a shot of a bike itself dismantled with all its parts showing. This was pre-approved by LeMond and we had help piece it all together from their Creative Director on set which was a huge help. I also got an edit of the story in advance (which is not always the case) and that’s was super helpful to help wrap ones mind around creative and indeed logistics.

Were you star struck?
I heard Greg’s voice down the hall before I met him and have to say I was a little nervous. He is a legend after all. Happy to report he is an absolute class act, a true champ, one of the most engaging, animated, passionate, honest, open and panache filled folk I have ever had the pleasure of photographing. He wanted us to shoot everything, even the secret stuff and had to be reined in a couple time there. Obvs, I was totally star struck fan boy but dug deep and managed to hold it together (I think) like a pro for the shoot.

We shot with Greg first and then wrapped the shoot with the bike parts as that took a little time and finessing…

The Daily Edit – Brendan Davis: Patagonia Spring Journal 2022


Photographer: Brendan Davis
Photo Editor: Jakob Reisinger

Heidi: The use of natural light for the portrait is striking, how did that come about?
Brendan: This whole run was meant to shed light on the impacts of the potential catastrophe of copper mining in the Boundary Waters. I have gotten to know Alex fairly well over the course of this project and I have become aware that a lot of his life is dedicated to shining light on how amazing the Boundary Waters are to different people, whether it’s doing this run, bringing his kids on canoe trips, or in his work as the government relations director for the Save The Boundary Waters organization. He wants people to feel its importance. I wanted this photo to put the light on Alex and bring the important, yet often quiet, work he is doing out of the shadows.

For this image set Alex completed a 110 mile traverse in wild temperature swings, how much running did you do and what was your approach?
I ended up doing about 46 miles that day. Which is probably close to the longest I have ever gone and definitely the longest I have gone with a camera in my hand. While photographing something like this I find it really important to be with the subject as long as possible. Alex was going 110 miles and moving as fast as he can do that and I didn’t want to slow him down with setting up shots. I took photos stride for stride with him. Often in motion or I’d run up ahead and wait for him to pass. I press the shutter between steps as both feet are off the ground and I am floating for a fraction of a second. In the rare moments of pause, or exhaustion however you might look at it, I’d take notice of how Alex was feeling or how I was feeling and attempt to capture that how ever it may be. I was only doing less than half of the running Alex was doing so when things got hard for me I knew he must be feeling it to. Running and feeling it all with him I am able to get as close to the experience as possible leaving very little room for over romanticizing anything.

What was the biggest challenge for this shoot?
Well, I think just running 46 miles is hard. The trail is grueling with constantly going up and down or making windy turns. There is a reason most people experience the Boundary Waters by canoe instead of on foot.

It was hard to focus on making sure Alex was moving along the way he needed to be, taking photos on assignment, and taking care of myself all at the same time. Something had to fail a little bit. On the day of the run temps got up into the 80s with very noticeable humidity. Early on in the run I had thought there would be more opportunities for water refills and  I drank my two flasks early and was left with no water for about 2-3 hours. Eventually, I got what I needed, but my body was already going through the motions of crazy dehydration and the water consumed couldn’t catch up fast enough. Which culminated in my quads locking up rather intensely at mile 26. So intensely that it looked like there was a softball about to burst out of my muscle. It was so painful I actually fell to the ground and then threw up. This put me in a strange place because we were really far out there and obviously I was not going to ask Alex to wait for me. The only way out was the 20 miles of trail ahead of us, the 26 miles behind us, or hitch a ride on a canoe.  Alex and Clare Gallagher, another runner helping pace and crew, kept going ahead as I figured out how to get my legs moving again. Before Clare left me she shared some salt pills and said see you later.  I envisioned all the possible scenarios, the worst being that I would just sit there in the middle of the trail unable to move for hours in the middle of the incoming storm. Thankfully I got moving again and caught back up to Clare and Alex as they stopped to refuel with friends who had canoed in the day earlier.

Thankfully my hydration mistake wasn’t worse.

How much planning goes into a project like this, since you’re working with multiple people, one being mother nature?
No matter how much planning is done, while documenting an adventure there is always some acceptance of chaos. I am able to control the gear I bring, the amount of training I do beforehand, study maps, set visual goals, and just expect it to be hard.

Logistically, this sort of trip has so many moving parts so everyone needs to know they can trust each other to be organized and situationally aware to keep each other safe. Nature is rapidly changing in the spring and obviously not able to be controlled so we did what we could to prepare.

Thankfully, Alex is a master planner. He had multiple spreadsheets, the whole map labeled with mileage markers, and had coordinated with friends and family on where they had to be, and how they would get there. Which sometimes involved canoes. There were a few other runners who helped support him on the trail by keeping him company and making sure he was eating, drinking, and moving properly.

You’re known as a high peak runner, how did that translate into this project?
I’m really lucky to live a life that allows me to run in mountains all over the country. I have been running since I was a kid and competed throughout college. A lot of my closest friendsI made friends by running. It’s how I enjoy spending time and I owe a lot to the people and places I have shared miles with. Running has been a deeply important part of my life and I am grateful to be able to join people like Alex who also see running as something greater than logging miles.

It is easy to hear about someone doing a 110 mile run and understand that it is a difficult task. I like to think that being a runner myself and understanding the nuances in the process of even simply trying to accomplish something like this helps me know where to look for meaningful moments during the physical and mental highs and lows.

What have you been working on recently?
I am just finishing up a multimedia project called “Home 2 Home” with fellow photographers Forest Woodward, Joe Grant and musician Christopher Parker. A couple years ago Joe ran the entire 500 miles of the Colorado trail and we all photographed the experience on 35mm and 16mm film. The culmination of the project is a zine, short film, and an album. It’s all being presented this week at 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale. The whole concept is about home and the humbling and joyous journey of being there. I am really excited about how it all turned out and that we were able to put it in print!

The Daily Edit – Gdje Su Svi Dobrodošli (Where Everyone Is Welcome) : Andrew Burton


Patagonia Cleanest Line

Photographer: Andrew Burton
Activist: Denis Tuzinovic

Heidi: How much time did you spend with Denis before taking out the camera for this portrait?
Andrew: Denis was very generous with his time with me, for which I am forever grateful. Broadly speaking our time together was split into two portions – the first portion was a traditional reportage / documentary photo shoot while Denis volunteered at SR3 (a marine wildlife response, rehabilitation, and research nonprofit vet clinic just outside Seattle). The second portion was the portrait session at a variety of locations. The first portion, at SR3, was relatively quick and immediate, I probably spent about 15 minutes photographing while he fed a few different groups of seals. We probably had 5-10 minutes to “get to know each other” and build a rapport before he started the volunteer work. The second portion – the portrait shoot – was rather long and organic, lasting a few hours at 5-6 different locations. The vision I had been given by the photo director was to use natural light in a variety of locations around Seattle to show Denis, and specifically a jacket he frequently wears, to show him proud and empowered in an urban environment. During the portrait portion of the shoot we had a lot of down time without cameras, driving between locations and walking the streets of Seattle, getting to know each other and learning more about each other. Even when I was making portraits of him, Denis’ story is so powerful and compelling that I found myself setting down my cameras to talk more and continue the conversation throughout the portrait session.


Do you have any type of process for your portrait work before meeting subjects?

I come from a strict photojournalism and documentary background, which is to say that when I make portraits I usually approach the assignment from a reportage lineage – environmental portraiture using a majority natural light – occasionally one strobe or a reflector to help a bit . Before the assignment I research the subject  as thoroughly as possible so that I know as much about the person as possible and I use online tools (google street view, etc) to research the location as much as possible so as not to be surprised by what the location is offering. Once on the scene I try to let things unfold organically, relying on conversation and collaboration with the subject to achieve a finished photo. This process can be trickier with subjects who don’t have much time to give or aren’t interested in collaboration, but in this specific case, with Denis, the system worked quite well.

Avedon famously said in his book The American West “A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” At Patagonia, we look for, “an honest shot, real people doing real things.”  How are you creating an environment for this moment or emotion to unfold?
I’ve worked as a professional photojournalist and documentary filmmaker for the past 14 years and the deeper I get into my career, the more I think about this line of thought – is the photo or film I create “honest and accurate?” How do you define truth, objectivity, accuracy? Is the photo both factually and emotionally accurate?  Am I manipulating the scene to achieve my own vision but at the cost of what the feeling on the scene really was? Coming from a journalism and documentary background, where “truth” (whatever that is) is paramount, I’m frequently hesitant to use my camera to manipulate a scene or subject to achieve my own goals or vision (whatever they maybe). That said, I’m of the opinion that the deeper into the rabbit hole you go in a search for capital-T “Truth,” the more you realize it’s impossible to achieve and a bit of a fool’s errand- the very nature of a camera being in a room – another person observing something – undeniably shapes and shifts the scene. And yet. I believe intention matters, that as a journalist and photographer you can aim be as unobtrusive as possible and visualize a scene relatively undisturbed – or in the case of a portrait – that you can attempt to document the essence of a person in an honest manner that doesn’t manipulate them or visualize them as something they aren’t. To that end, that’s why I try to be as collaborative, open and communicative with a portrait subject – so that I can get to know them as much as possible in the time given and try to make a portrait that feels relatively “accurate.”

I see an honest, brave moment of self reflection and courage, what do you hope to capture in this portrait?
More than anything I hope the portrait accurately reflects who Denis is and compels the audience to read Denis’ story and get to know more about him – he’s an amazing man who lives by his values, is actionable about his convictions and who has been shaped by harrowing backstory. I won’t attempt to summarize Denis’ story for him but suffice to say I was deeply moved by the time I was able to spend with him and hope readers are moved by his story, as well.

What can you share about working with film and digital for our assignment?
I would simply say, it was a joy mixing the mediums of reportage and environmental portraiture. Denis and I had the opportunity to walk the streets of Seattle for an hour or two, chasing the light and location, chatting and finding unexpected scenes and environments. Ultimately the final photo is a clean, powerful portrait of Denis but there were dozens of other options that leaned into the visuals of Seattle and the mix of urban landscape amidst the beautiful Pacific Northwest. It felt like a rare and special assignment – most portraits don’t have that sort of latitude and flexibility. I”m very grateful to both the photo director and to Denis for the opportunity.

Film is often more intentional, anything that is analog slows us down, tell us about shooting both mediums.
Yes, I shot both digital and film on this assignment. I’ve been working more in film photography for the past few years which has been a total joy. I spent the first eight years of my career in the daily news and wire photography business – on the best days I was on the front lines of history documenting the most incredible moments of the human experience. But the turnover of work is incredibly quick – deadline is always 5 minutes ago and there’s always another assignment. Some days I might have four assignments. Modern digital cameras are made for this work – a photographer can make thousands of photographs with little effort. But the overall effect of that lifestyle, at least on me, was to water down the value of the photos I was making – it increasingly felt like “quantity over quality.” This may be trite and obvious, but working with film cameras slows a photographer down. It makes a photographer more intentional. It demands a photographer to ask themself what they’re trying to say by releasing the shutter. It has made me fall in love with the medium of photography again – the physicality of slower cameras, the limited number of frames – it makes me appreciate the medium. I would say it’s akin to digital music (Spotify etc) versus listening to a record. It forces you to be more present minded and appreciate scarcity.  All that said: I worked in both mediums for this assignment a bit out of fear – I wanted the digital cameras on the scene as a safety net in case anything went wrong with the film cameras. Ultimately it was an unfounded fear and the film photos were the ones I was most proud of.

Thank you to both you and Denis for working with us, I’m so grateful to have crossed paths on this special assignment. Read the full story here.

The Daily Edit – Gathering Growth: Brian Kelly


Lock 26 Maple

Three Sisters Swamp
Ransom Sycamore audio included
Grandma Tree
Millersville Bur Oak
The Big Poplar Tuliptree

Pacific Ponderosa Pine

Gathering Growth
Photographer: Brian Kelly 

Heidi: Why is this project important to you and what got you started?
Brian: After seeing old growth/big trees in the PNW of the US and Vancouver Island I couldn’t stop doing research into why the forests of the east coast US were nothing like the west.  Why weren’t there big trees here in the East? Come to find out, the East coast US has been logged over several times and multiple species that fell to disease and insects. All of this was an initial motivation to document what was left. We lack proper documentation of what the forests and trees once looked like. For me, this is what drives me to dedicate my life to document what is still standing; it’s a reminder for future generations of what it all once was at a specific moment in time.

In a data and asset rich world, this is one of the more refreshing practices of archiving. What assets are you collecting?
Over the last four to five years of documenting these trees and forests I’ve been creating large format images, soundscape recordings, leaf and seed documentation, and the occasional video recording.  Not every tree gets the full suite, but I try to.

What format are you shooting, can you share your process?  How long is each tree session and what are you trying to capture?
When shooting the trees and forests for the archive I use Kodak Portra 160 sheet film with a Toyo Field Camera. I’m a big believer in not only the quality of film but also the physical aspect of the negative for the archive.  Of course I’m also shooting digital because mistakes do happen when shooting film. I’m shooting on a Fuji GFX 100 at the moment, but the digital format has already changed once since I started this archive, so I’m looking to the film to be the constant. The amount of time I spend at a tree can vary.  I’ve had roadside finds that I’ve documented in 45 min and been on my way, then I’ve had other trees where I’ve spent two days knowing the light could be better.  It’s all different, but I like to imagine that when I put in time with a tree I’m paying it respect. That this organism has been living and growing for 800 years in order for it to be something special and recognized by humans. You have to show love and respect when you start thinking like that.

What is the taxonomy of your archive?  
The archive is organized by the year, and then going into either Tree of Significance, Forests, or Champion Tree,  then it gets broken into state, followed by species.

Are you planning on another book similar to Parks?
I would love to do a tree book someday.  I’ve been wanting to do a series that would be broken into the major regions of the U.S.  Highlighting the largest/old trees and old growth or unique forests.  This would be my life work I think….


How many have you photographed thus far? What are your discovery and tracking tools?  

So far the archive has roughly 300 trees and forests documented.  I’m able to find a lot of the trees just through googling key words, and being specific in a state or town. For example: “Big – Tree – New – York”  I’ve also found a lot through Real estate Apps like Zillow.  Finding a big tree in a photo and then looking on google maps street view.  I get the occasional submission from someone too. We have a tree/forest submission page on our website.   At the moment I have roughly 1,300 trees and forests marked on google earth.  A lot of work ahead of me still!

How can folks support you or get involved?  
There are many ways that people can support Gathering Growth. You can check the website www.gathergrowth.org to learn more about what we’re doing, how to get involved and make a donation. We have a bi weekly newsletter you can sign up for and follow us on social media for new trees and forests that were documenting. @gatheringgrowth. Were also always looking for brands that align with our ethos and want to help amplify our voice and mission.


Do you have a favorite tree or any favorite moment you’d like to share. Trees are also called knowledge keepers, what have you learned so far?

I’m not sure I have a favorite tree, but I have a favorite memory while shooting a tree. While photographing a tree in the Lost Forest Research Area in southeastern Oregon I experienced silence like never before.  The drive into the Lost Forest is an experience in its own.  Bumpy roads and potholes on unmaintained BLM roads nearly destroyed my van.  Getting into the forest around sunset I parked the car, turned it off and the instant I opened my door it felt like a vacuum had just sucked all the sound out.  I felt unsure, like I wasn’t supposed to be there, or something was watching me.  I wasn’t used to silence like that, so much so that the only sound I heard was the blood rushing through my ears. That level of silence was so foreign.  I wasn’t able to find the tree that night and had to wait till morning.  Eventually finding the tree in the morning I was finally able to start to acclimate to the silence.  I’ve never been anywhere else and felt that way.  I don’t think most people have or ever will know that type of natural silence.