The Daily Edit – Charlotte Drury: A Place to Land – ICP Documentary and Visual Journalism


A Place to Land

Photographer: Charlotte Drury

I had the pleasure of joining a portfolio review session for International Center of Photography’s  (ICP) Portfolio Day last week and met with a handful of students.  That day about 60 graduating students shared work with a variety of industry professionals, it’s a wonderful moment for the photo community to come together and see the future of photography, that’s how I met Charlotte. Her ICP project, “A Place to Land” skillfully documented her connection to both the gravity and nuances of sport. The work included vulnerable portraits, intimate moments and the full spectrum of those who are performative. We’re used to seeing the monumental moments, not the in-between of what it means to be involved in sport, striving for excellence.

Heidi: How did your career as former Olympic athlete in the sport of Trampoline (2020) inform this body of work?
Charlotte: This project wouldn’t exist without my past career in sport. I felt particularly drawn to tell this story because of the complex relationship I have with my career and experience in gymnastics. When I first started going to the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation I didn’t know what kind of photos I was going to create or what kind of story this would be.

At the beginning of shooting, I was almost desperate to find proof that the gym could be a good place for kids to grow up. I knew that at one point, when I was very young, I loved the sport with all my heart but through my years on the National Team I lost sight of that. When I tried to remember what it felt like to have fun with gymnastics, it felt so far away. As if some other little girl had experienced that joy. It showed in my photos too. In the beginning, I only wanted to focus on the moments of celebration or playfulness, desperate to see the “good”. As time went on and I reflected on what I was observing, I realized the magic of sports are the in-between moments. The subtler expressions of hope, friendship, focus and even disappointment and frustration started to draw me in more than before. I watched, and photographed, as the gym invited all of these experiences in and the athletes not only got to explore the full physical landscape of being a kid but the emotional one too. It was important for me to see that.

What sparked your interest in photography? What was the photo that became the turning point for you?
I must’ve been 11 when my parents got a Canon Rebel for the family. It quickly became “Charlotte’s Camera” and whenever it went “missing” my parents and siblings knew where to find it (on my bedside table). My bedroom was on the second floor and looked out over the bird feeder. I loved pulling the screen off and dangling my legs out the window, waiting for the birds to come by and snapping their photos. I’d wake up early and go shoot the morning light in the park by my house or I’d bring it to the gym and shoot my teammates during practice. When I got older, I brought it with me on my unreasonably long solo road trips and the camera became my buddy during weeks alone on the road. Ever since I was a kid the camera had a natural magnetism that I didn’t think twice about. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized not everyone felt that way and that perhaps I had found my new calling.

Why did you choose The Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation Harlem, NYC for this project?
I went to a few gyms before finding the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation but they just weren’t it. They weren’t bad gyms but I could sense unspoken tension between the athletes and coaches and the values of the program weren’t what I was searching for (even if I didn’t know exactly what that was yet). I think at the end of the day, there’s an ease to this program. Wendy has done an amazing job of lowering all barriers to entry to gymnastics. She offers tons of scholarships, organizes outreach and has the kids doing so much more than Trampoline and Tumbling (including community performances and fundraisers). The emphasis here is on doing gymnastics, not grinding out champions at all costs. It was refreshing and exactly what I was hoping for.

Was part of this project self reflection or “self portrait” discovery?
I would say this project is heavily self reflective. When I retired after the Tokyo Games in 2021, I had a lot to process and work through. My career wasn’t easy on me and it didn’t end well. By the time I retired, I lost my faith in sports as a whole and my new goal was to put as much distance between me and gymnastics as possible (hence the cross-country move from California to New York City). But part of what encouraged me to start exploring gyms in the city was that a piece of me was desperate to challenge that narrative. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life hating something I had dedicated over two decades to. As I watched the kids here play, challenge themselves and banter with each other, I started to remember the happy days I had growing up, memories I didn’t even know were stored away. I also remembered how much fun it is to just bounce on a trampoline which is a pretty big deal for me.

How did it feel to be behind the camera and not on the floor, but still striving for excellence?
Mixed. There are days when I’m so glad to be the one photographing because I genuinely just love to make pictures. Then there are days that I get filled with this deep ache and I dearly miss being the one out on the competition floor. For all the hard moments I had in my career there were some spectacular ones too and I miss those. It helps me to remember that there is a season for everything, and my season of competing in Trampoline is behind me. Photographing gives me the chance to make my subjects feel just as special as I did when I had my picture taken. It’s also an amazing way for me to invite my past into this new future I’m building. It’s nice that even though I’m retired those skills I honed over the years as an athlete are still serving me.

What would you share with any pro athlete that is turning to the arts post a successful career in sport?
Remember what you do is not who you are. The obstacles in your way, become your way. And have fun, you’re allowed.

The Daily Edit – Blind River: Alex Turner




Photographer: Alex Turner

Alex and I connected a few weeks ago after many of our circles began to overlap. We shared friends in the art, commercial and conservation spaces and I reviewed some of his images from a recent Patagonia journal project. Our conversation left me with so many questions about his interdisciplinary research and artwork. Along with making this impressive body of work, Alex’s love of the outdoors and intriguing perspective of how we see and surveil the world leaves me curious and excited for what’s next. Here’s what he had to say about his project, Blind River.

Heidi: How long have you been in the conservation field and has photography always been a part of this work for you?
Alex: I’ve always been interested in the environmental sciences and conservation, but only recently worked in a professional capacity within either of the fields. I’m currently working at an environmental nonprofit focused on forest restoration in Los Angeles, and was recently a citizen scientist with wildlife biologists at the University of Arizona. In both cases, I used these relationships to inspire my artistic practice. The collaborative work I did with wildlife biologists resulted in my most recent photographic project called Blind River, and my current role in forest restoration is informing my current body of work.

How did this idea for Blind River come about, was this the first installation of this work at Marshall Gallery?
While I was a graduate student at the University of Arizona, I was amazed to learn that jaguars occasionally migrated across the US/Mexico border. I reached out to the research team that was tracking their movements, and began to envision a photographic project related to that research. The team uses motion-triggered infrared cameras to monitor them, and then runs that footage through a customized A.I.-based facial recognition software to identify different species of animals. It became apparent to me very quickly that, based on the locations of these cameras, the team inevitably records and identifies a lot of activity outside the parameters of their research. Considering that the US government uses these same technologies in the same environments, I realized that this was a unique way to examine the surveillance tactics deployed along the border through the lens of an organization with completely different motives. I had a show of my work at the University of Arizona Museum of Art as part of my thesis, as well as a solo show in New York and various other group shows, including one recently at Marshall, and another show there this summer. LACMA recently acquired one of the pieces for their permanent collection, and it will be on display in the 2024 Pacific Standard Time exhibition. On July 15th I’ll be in a 3 person show at the Marshall Gallery, the working title is called Rendered Realities.

How long has A.I. been on your mind and what concerns do you have?
A.I. has been on my mind for a long time, and the current iterations of it are already so much more advanced and sophisticated than anything that I was working with even 3-4 years ago. But the concerns that I hoped to address with Blind River are not dissimilar from the concerns of A.I. today, namely: what happens when A.I. is wrong? And how do we operate in a world where we are more and more detached from each other, or any lived experiences for that matter?

How long are the remote sensing and recognition applications deployed?
I was monitoring dozens of cameras in several mountain ranges on the US/Mexico Border in Arizona for the better part of 3 years. Each one required me to go out and change batteries and SD cards every couple weeks, especially if they were in ‘active’ areas. Some cameras would go weeks without capturing any activity, and some were constantly capturing deer, bears, foxes, humans, mountain lions and everything in between. Many of these cameras were in very remote areas with no trails, requiring hours of bushwhacking through difficult desert mountain terrain. Often, the same environmental features that attracted wildlife also attracted human movement, including the paths of least resistance and access to water. Because each SD card could have thousands of photos, the research team collaborated with engineers to develop an A.I. software that could help identify species in each picture, potentially saving the researchers countless hours of cataloguing data. While I’m no longer a citizen scientist with the team, their research is ongoing and will continue for many years.

What data sets are you combining in order to raise questions and what surprised you about the cross overs?
All of the data I collected was in collaboration with the wildlife biology team. The infrared footage I use in my artwork is part of their research and data, as well as the A.I. recognition results. When a picture of a human is categorized as a ‘human’ by the software, it is categorized in their database as such. While the footage and data is most likely very similar to the footage and data collected by Border Patrol, we are in no way working in partnership with them, nor are we sharing data or information. I have footage of the cartel moving across the border, and Border Patrol likely has footage of jaguars moving across the border. We simply have different motivations and intentions. For me, that difference is key to the project: it allows you as the viewer to see the different ways these technologies can be used, and weigh the positive and negative outcomes and draw your own conclusions.

The fused imagery illustrates several paradoxes: human/dehumanized/intimate/loose/natural landscape and the observation of. How did this idea emerge and why was it important to you to push photographic boundaries?
One of the more jarring moments in the making of Blind River was looking at the infrared photos on a computer screen for the first time. Having just visited these places, I was surprised at how foreign and alien they felt in the photos. Part of it was the way space and subject is depicted with infrared technology, but also how little information is actually available in the photos. The sensors are very small, so the resulting images are very pixelated and blurry. The gulf between the technology and real life experience I had was stark, and I wanted to highlight that disparity. I made very high resolution panoramas of the landscapes from the same perspective as the motion sensor camera, then overlaid the subjects from the infrared cameras into these immersive landscapes. The figures are vague and not well defined in contrast to their detailed surroundings. I’m interested in showing both the possibilities and limitations of these photographic technologies. Undoubtedly these technologies will only get better, but they will never substitute reality…there will always be a level of detachment between us and the subject being depicted or captured. Photography’s tenuous relationship with truth and reality has always been interesting to me, but today it feels particularly prescient in the face of surveillance and A.I.

Did the questions iterate over time?
I wasn’t entirely sure what questions this project would pose when I first began working on it, but I found myself wondering ‘what is my role in all of this?’ quite often. As the surveillant, I have the ability to curate data and footage for the viewer, regardless of my understanding of this space or my authority or expertise. There is a lot of public rhetoric surrounding the border today, but how much can we truly claim to know about this space by looking at it through our screens, or reading about it, or studying and surveilling it from afar? I think it’s a pressing question for all of us, but particularly for those who wield considerable influence over the region.

Now that you are based in Los Angeles, what photography projects are you working on, and what do you hope to do?
Working with a forestry restoration organization in California, my current focus is on trees. But my new project is about trees the same way that Blind River was about jaguars, meaning there’s a lot more happening in the work. My tree project incorporates thermal technology, which has many different real world applications, much like infrared. I’m fascinated by the variety of imaging technologies available today, and I love repurposing those technologies for artistic projects. Troubleshooting is a huge part of the process, as I’m often trying to use these tools for something very different than their intended applications. That being said, I’m excited to put work out into the world, hopefully soon.

The Daily Edit – Cisco: Stan Evans




Photographer: Stan Evans
Agency:The Hatch
Client: Cisco
Creative Director: Rick Vargas
Producer: Connie Conway
Stylist: Kaityln Lusk, Eliza Karpel
Makeup: Valerie Harvey, Valerie Kan
Photo Assistants: Ethan Sharkey, Marcus Soto, Guillermo Ulysses
Digital Tech: Tom Mishima
Video: Marrice “Mo” Hill
Video Editor: Jeff Moustache
Casting – Eastside Studios
Location Scout: Isaac Levy
Photo Retoucher: Natalie Schwarz
Social / Digital Strategy: Austin Holt

BTS Video
How Cisco is pursing pay fairness
Their commitment to Social Justice, 2 years in the making
Change Systems, Change the world


Heidi: What made this project diverse and equitable? Those are two different pillars for a way forward.
Stan: The first part is about working with intention. We had a mix of cast and crew from different physical abilities, to gender and age, and ethnicity, and that was by design. Equitable is about paying anyone in or on the production what the job is worth rather than paying based on appearance. 

You mentioned equal pay, why would one pay one person more than another? Doesn’t that continue the divide?
I just mentioned equal pay because usually diverse creators and actors/models are paid less. You see it with Social Media Creators and in the mainstream entertainment business.  In advertising I’ve seen more disparity in the length of payment terms and the way they’re handled. Agencies and clients are drawing out payment terms. Smaller shops and creatives have to fund or string out production costs on their own credit and this makes it more difficult to build wealth and build a business. Drawn out contract demands hurt minority shops, limit talent and disrespect agencies as well as creatives. Less experience, less opportunity, and lack of legal representation often drives desperation to accept terms even though they may be unbalanced. 

Who does that help, and who does that harm?
I don’t think large corporations have had to think about it as much because they have long lines of credit and financing. Long payment terms stretch vendors and creatives who aren’t operating with large amounts of capital. Unfortunately if the goal is to empower diverse creatives and showcase different narratives that can’t be done if they are hindered financially by production costs. Someone could be perfectly capable creatively but if they don’t have the funds to front production costs they’re out of the running. 

How did your experience inform this project?
I’m part of a community that has dealt with bias and discrimination; that perspective along with empathy gives me the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes to figure out how to share their stories. I’m goal oriented so my efforts tend to focus on how to fix the situation –  I do that with photos and videos. Always try to figure out how you can expand your creativity with a client and over deliver.

Heidi: How did this project come about?
Stan: Cisco reached out about creating a collection of images that would represent their brand worldwide for their Social Justice Campaign.

The BTS video VO closed with this was more than money could buy, in the end, aren’t we all simply looking for dignity and to be seen? How did this dignify those you photographed?
Money can buy alignment for a time but to create something that will stand the test of time it takes an ideal. Something people in front of the lens, people behind the lens, and people in the audience can join in and be a part of. For this project I think we listened and used the photography to hold a mirror to our subjects and reflect who they are. The crew orchestrated images that they could see themselves in and it illuminated self worth. We made everyone part of the process. That adds value to everyone and brands across the board.  

 The casting naturally turned some people away, what was the criteria for casting?
I disagree that anyone was turned away. We actually showcased many who normally don’t get adequate representation. Native Americans, people with disabilities, and the queer community. It was actually a pretty full spectrum given time, budget, and locations. It could have easily gone kitsch and been a remake of the United Colors of Benetton but the shoot stayed grounded in realism. And to be clear, props to Benetton for being one of the first brands to promote diversity, that just wasn’t the art direction we were going for here.

Perhaps my question was unclear, did you include everyone that showed up at the casting? 
Cisco had a broad overview of communities they were hoping to include. Much of this is determined by the different regions Worldwide where their services are used. (India, Asia, Africa etc so the imagery would be used in those markets). The initial casting was digital and pretty straight forward with headshots and measurements. I had a few extra asks as I am very intentional with diverse casting.  l requested their IG handles and we asked for audition tapes (which is rare for stills) because I wanted to learn a bit about them, They included small details about themselves because instead of casting for a part we were actually asking people to come as who they are for this shoot. There weren’t any wrong answers, it was just about giving different people a spotlight to share their uniqueness.

We had a fitting day so I met most of the models before the shoot and generally had a good idea of who they were and what they were about by the time they got to set. The learning, understanding and the back and forth flow of communication between the people in the images and the crew is what made the shoot more inclusive rather than just casting people to fit X, Y, or Z imagery.

How are you mentoring the next generation?
I started the Social Studies Show in 2019 before George Floyd and the pandemic as a way to introduce diverse creatives to learn about the advertising world – giving insights and advice from experts they might be unable to connect with. At the time people didn’t really understand what I was doing and dismissed it but as the importance for advertisers and creatives to look deeper into different perspectives and how to build within diverse communities, viewers began to understand its importance. It’s a guide to anyone who wants to watch and learn about marketing and activism. There’s no gatekeeping and it’s free. Working with my team we are attempting to scale mentorship broader than 1 to 1 learning. Through diverse media we are compounding our efforts towards equity, equality and business sustainability. Here’s a recent podcast with Toby Kaufmann of Facebook and previously Refinery 29 that focuses on empowering diverse creatives. It was a powerful episode and applicable to our conversation.

What is great resource for emerging photographers?
The best resource I’ve seen for real answers is one my Mentor Monte Isom created with Fstopppers   it’s honestly the best $299 a photographer could spend because Monte really breaks it down. Photo Consultants and Amy V. Cooper as a great asset. So much of the photo industry is business oriented and artists need to focus on that end, probably more so. I have a podcast with Amy that will be dropping in a few weeks and she will be offering a discount on her Master Class on the Social Studies show.




The Daily Edit – Drew Smith: Patagonia Spring 23 Journal

Photographer: Drew Smith

I connected climber and documentarian Drew Smith about his latest project in the Andes. Jirishanca clocks in at 19,993 ft and is well known for being difficult with very few successful ascents. While Drew didn’t summit with the team, the skill needed to both photograph and keep pace with the athletes never ceases to impress me.

Heidi: You went to hell and back with your health on this one, how did that inform your images, if at all?
Drew: Yeah I was sick on and off the entire 6 weeks I was in Peru. HAPE, Pneumonia, and a couple of episodes of food poisoning really did a number on me. It was really terrible and stressful at times knowing I had a job to do. But then in a strange way it shifted my eyes and mind into just being present and taking it one day at a time. Everything slowed down and I looked at things more closely and as a result, captured the little moments that documented a more intimate story.

I know you trained for this, what tools did you employ to keep your head in the game?
At some point, we surrender control and let things unfold.
I was already in Peru and I knew that I would still have an experience even if it wasn’t the one I expected. In general, I tend to hold expectations lightly because things are always changing. I knew that I got lucky and it could have been much worse so there was a sense of gratitude that carried me through.

Considering this was another go at a first ascent, what pressure comes with this invitation?
This mountain was big and beautiful, something you would imagine in a dream or draw when you think of a mountain. I remember the first photo I saw of this mountain was in a book I was reading about Nick Bullock’s attempt. His account with Jirishanca was full on, cold, scary, difficult and something I was strangely looking forward to. Knowing I’d be with Josh and Vince, two people I’d heard of since I first started climbing, I was honored to be invited on a trip as part of the team.How did you get awarded the invite?
I had hung out with Josh Wharton at crags on and off over the years and we were always trying to make a bigger mission happen. I always appreciated his motivation and humble demeanor. One day I got a text saying he wanted to go back to Jirishanca and invited me along. I was stoked and we actually bought tickets in the summer of 2021 but had to cancel because of Covid issues in Peru. But made it happen in 2022.

How has your commitment to climbing served you over the years?
It’s brought me to some beautiful places and introduced me to some of the most amazing people in my life, including my wife.

You’re both creative and an athlete, did one take precedence over the other during this trip or how do you balance that dualism?
Usually both sides feed off of each other. A lot of my creative inspiration comes from long days in the mountains. I love attempting to tell these powerful stories through my eyes. In Peru, I was held back physically so I had to depend on my creative side to carry me through.

What humbled you about this mountain?
The mountains in general are humbling every time I’m in them. The route Josh and Vince climbed on Jirishanca is complex needing a wide range of skill. From free climbing 5.13 to hard mixed and steep snow climbing. I got a glimpse of the challenges Josh and Vince had on Jirishanca through my lens and that in itself was humbling.

What emotions were you trying to capture between Josh and Vince?
I just try to capture what’s real. Being a fly on the wall and waiting for those genuine moments to happen. Piecing together the story as it unfolds in real time.

The Daily Edit – Cosmopolitan: Cameron Davidson


Cosmopolitan Magazine

Senior Visual Editor: Emily Adar
Photographer: Cameron Davidson
Read the story here

Heidi: How has your skills as a pilot transferred to the drone?

Cameron: It has helped immensely. Understanding airspace and being able to pre-visualize a location is helpful. Knowing how the light falls from an elevated perspective has been useful. The biggest part that I enjoy about drones is the ability to loiter over a subject. To wait until a moment happens or more importantly, to get low and slow and still be safe. I enjoy being able to shoot from 30 feet as much as from 400 feet -121.92 meters (legal limit in USA and Canada).  Often times the best shot or angle is less than 200 feet – which is in deadman’s curve, for helicopters. (a risky, often non-recoverable altitude if something goes amiss in a helicopter)

How did this project come about?
Emily Adar, the Senior Visual Editor for Cosmopolitan wrote me in early December to see if I was interested in shooting this project. I was referred to her by Scott Lacey, the Deputy Visual Director for Hearst Visuals. Scott and I had worked together previously on another aerial shoot.

Were you directed to photograph this as black and white?
No, it was kinda of up in the air. We discussed shooting it as black and white and also as color.  When I sent Emily my initial set of selects she asked me to process in black and white and also in color so that the design team could make the final decision. I have a set of black and white styles that I use in Capture One that are punchy and a bit gritty. I thought that this look was perfect for the story.

Was it your idea to include the duotone to suggest fire in the drone footage?

No, I wish it was. That came as a complete surprise and I felt that it was very successful presentation style.

You have a significant body of aerial work, did you pitch footage for the online version?
Emily suggested it for the online version. I was keen on doing it. I thought it would help tell the story of these immense buildings full of chickens and prison laborers.

How did you get access to the farm if they weren’t compliant during the interview?

The interior shots are not mine – they’re pick-ups. I never accessed the farm on the ground – except from the air. The first location I went to is quite a bit south of Phoenix. It is guarded by roving security in vehicles. I drove past the site and started scouting for a place to launch my drones and not bring attention to myself. I ended up driving to a spot along the highway where I could park, keep visual contact with the drone and most importantly, not be seen. I started the overflight up fairly high, shot video first and then lowered the drone down to about 150 feet. After finishing the shoot, I flew away from my location in case I was spotted and then flew back to the launch site from a different angle. It was a bit nerve racking, given the publicity surrounding the farm and the prison labor issue.  The main location, I did the same thing, parked far enough away as to not draw attention to myself and parked on the far side of a tree line.  Normally, when shooting drone aerials, my preference is to use my Inspire 2 with a bigger chip, however, for this project, I wanted to shoot with smaller drones that were quieter and less easy to spot from the ground.

What tools did you use to earn trust for the silhouette portrait?
That is interesting. In my contract, they were specific requests to be understanding of the situation and to protect the identity of the subject.

We got along great. I showed her tests I had done before and what I wanted to do to give a sense of a person but also not identify who she was. I had built a set of screens with fabric to photograph her on the other side of. We did that, but I felt that the silhouette was the way to go – first off, it was very much in my style of shooting graphic images and I I knew I could control the contrast to keep her in the dark. When I  processed the files, I crushed the blacks so there was no detail whatsoever in her face.

I showed the subject a frame from every set-up and she approved them. I wanted her to be an active participant in the shoot, plus it is her story that is a critical part of the essay.

You’ve been in the field for decades, what are your thoughts on instagram as a tool for photographers?

IG is an interesting quandary. It is to some degree, a requirement to be seen by clients. In other ways, it feels like feeding the beast without any payback. Recently, I’ve had several images licensed from my feed and two potential clients have approached me – via the IG feed – in the last two weeks. I think at this point, it is important to be fairly active on IG. I am concentrating on a small group of potential clients and marketing direct to them – plus keeping up on other platforms including my blog.

What are you working on now?

I am continuing to work on a project that is aerial in perspective but shot lower (ie, drone) than helicopter. Much more fine art oriented than commercial and it is a continuation of my Chesapeake Bay watershed projects along with my Ghost Forest project I started shooting from the air and am now shooting from the ground/elevated tripods. Basically, Ghost Forest are forest being killed by rising salt water – intrusion of rising salt water due climate change – it is particularly bad on the East Coast of the US. So, I am documenting Ghost Forest in the Chesapeake watershed and eventually, up and  down the Eastern Seaboard from New Brunswick to Northern Florida.



Photo Editor: Donny Bajohr
Read the story here

How long have you been working with Smithsonian?
I have a long history at Smithsonian, over thirty assignments. My last shoot for them (before this one) was in 2007 and I photographed a Archeabotanist, Dr. Linda Perry,  who became my wife. After that shoot – nothing until last summer.

Were they familiar with this personal work?
Yes, Donny (and the rest of Smithsonian photo team) knew about my long-term projects photographing the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
This assignment was interesting, because, way back in the nineties, I photographed the same research project for another story. One of the people I photographed I shot for that story was also shot for this one.

How did your range in photographic style help you in this case?
Donny felt that this was a natural for me, the ability to shoot aerials plus portraits and a subject that I am fairly well-versed in and interested in climate change and rising sea waters and the impact of that change.

The Daily Edit – Ray Collins: Patagonia Journal Spring 2023


Ray Collins

Heidi: The ocean is a dynamic canvas, what made you what to create a stillness?
Ray: I want to freeze the moments that we may miss in real time. Sometimes the anticipation of a rising swell of what ‘might’ happen is more important than the finale of the crashing wave. It’s often the moment before the moment which becomes the moment. Anticipation makes you question what happens next, it provokes a response from the viewer, and that’s what art should do.

In a few sentences describe what the ocean means to you?
The one single constant in my life has been the ocean. It has given me everything I have, and the greatest lessons of my life have been learned from interacting with it. It has taught me: patience, courage, respect, going with the flow. I’ve made such a diverse pack of lifelong friends…our only common thread being saltwater. It has instilled a firsthand appreciation for nature. It’s shown me its power, beauty and purity—often all at once. It keeps no record of history; it obeys no law. It is the one ever-changing constant. I have traveled the world in pursuit of documenting it. Whenever I am near it, wherever I am, I am home.

How does being color blind inform your photography? 
My theory is that because of the deficiency of color blindness it has potentially enhanced other parts of my vision (maybe composition and textures) and that could be something that helps make my photography unique? That’s my working assumption anyway.

Photography and the ocean came into your life as a form of healing from a coal mining accident where your knee was severely damaged, the camera came first, why? and what were you photographing?
I just needed an outlet. My routine of an active life in my 20’s had come to a stand still and I had a lot of time on my hands. Learning photography and how a camera works was something I never had time for before. So I just read and re read the manual and took photos of my dog actually. Trying to understand the relationship between Shutter, Aperture and ISO and moving her (Chantic) near different windows at different times of day, she was such a loyal dog. An old soul. I have her name on my foot.

After a few weeks of knee rehabilitation my physio said I could introduce some light swimming into my routine. So I bought a waterhousing for my camera and started shooting photos of my friends surfing. Within a few weeks I had my first published image, within a few months I had my first international cover.

When did you understand this is what you were meant to do?
There were so many gentle course corrections and life affirming milestones that kept me on course and reinforced to me that I was on the right path

In the Patagonia film, Fish People, you mentioned planning a single shot for 6 weeks. In that planning are you returning to same spot to study the light movement?
Sometimes! Fortunately I’ve found some good sun tracking apps that help with light source positioning. Another important detail is the tide, sometimes I need an absolute high tide (studying the moon phase helps) otherwise the reef might be sticking out of the water at a lower tide and the wave won’t have a clean curve. Then of course, the right swell direction and period – keeping my eyes on how distant storms are tracking. Oh, and wind. Come to think of it, sometimes many variables need to line up all at once. Pushing the shutter button down is towards the end of the creative cycle.
Not all images have that level of planning though. Sometimes just waking up with no plan but meeting the sun as it rises over the horizon is all it takes too.

What would you tell your younger, creative self now?
The best advice I got early in my career was shoot what you want to see, not what you think others want to see. It’s kept me on my own path and I would retell my younger self the same thing.  I’d love to tell young Ray  ‘you’re enough’ and you will have all of the desires of your heart.

How has your eye changed over the years?
I try and do as much as possible in camera, it makes everything easier down the track with editing. I’m always aware of divine proportions while composing and cropping and I always try and highlight points of interest within the image for people to discover as they peruse each piece.

How are you staying buoyant in the water to get those waves, flippers and swimming like hell?
Most of the time I’m swimming and a lot of the time it’s at sunrise or sunset. The golden hour. That means swimming out in the dark and waiting for it to rise most mornings. A lot of the waves I document aren’t your typical user friendly beaches, often I have to scale down cliffs or swim way out in the middle of nowhere to find these weird and angry lumps of water breaking. What I search for are shallow reefs that are surrounded by deepwater, that way the wave traveling stands up suddenly in reaction to the shallow reef and that’s where I try to position myself. It’s the line between order and chaos.

Imagine swimming in a washing machine with a bag of concrete and lifting that bag up to your face so you can focus, compose the shot, getting all of your shutter settings, aperture iso right, getting no water droplets on the front element while the ocean is pushing, pulling, gurgling and crashing all around you. It can be physically exhausting at times. Your ‘studio’ can kill you, but it offers up some of the most precious moments of life in between.

I fail more than I succeed in overcoming it, but it makes the successes even sweeter.  It’s always risk versus reward.

What drew you to being a professional lifeguard?
There were a few things actually. After running my photography business for the past decade it became apparent that I had no real structure in my life. Kind of always dependent on nature. There would be patterns of swell chasing, constant travel, shooting and being go-go-go for weeks or months on end… Then the pendulum would swing to the extreme other end and i’d have too much time to fill (in my mind anyway) and it’s easy to spiral when you have idle hands.

Working for yourself and by yourself can be a pretty selfish ride in a lot of ways and I needed to pursue a noble cause. Lifeguarding is truly a dream job. You’re being of service to your local community, being paid to stay in peak physical fitness and you get to work with an incredible team of likeminded folks. You get to help educate the public on the dangers of the ocean while being a caretaker and custodian of your local area.

What can you tell us about the making of Convergence and Mowhawk, two images in Patagonia’s journal and 50th Campaign?
I’m so proud to have amazing clients such as Patagonia. They’re the benchmark of everything that every other company should strive for!

Journal cover – Convergence: I’ve always appreciated the birds’ eye view of the ocean, it feels like a forbidden vantage, one that humans were’t meant to see. Drones are pretty cool, but nothing beats hovering over the top of a large and powerful swell and isolating the ‘roof’ of the wave from above. It offers a whole new world of compositions to work with. It is not cheap however so you have to choose your days and make them count.

Billboard – Mowhawk: This reef is a 7hr drive from my house. to get into the water you have to scale down a huge cliff and swim around the back of the wave. It is on a corner of the coastline that sticks out and makes the migrating whales come close to shore to turn the corner. It’s a wild, wild place. I had driven down on two previous attempts to shoot it and driven home on the same day, a 14hr round trip empty-handed. The third time was a charm!


The Daily Edit – Walter Smith AI experimental portraits and questioning authenticity

Older fella

Walter Smith Photographer + Director

I am fortunate to describe my friendship with Walter Smith as timeless. We worked together at Philadelphia Magazine, my first job, decades ago. I remember Walter coming into the office, a camera slung around his shoulder, with a box full of contact sheets for us to loupe.  He was hustling on “front-of-the-book” assignments, perfect for his photojournalistic eye. Years pass, conversations get deeper and image making evolves. We connected in 2015 about his self published promo, recently we caught up about his experiments with AI.

Heidi: How long have you been making images via AI?
Walter: I really only started playing around with the technology and ChatGPT about a month ago. It’s a rabbit hole and you can most definitely make some great things from it. 

How many hours and prompts went into the older fella portrait?
Those portraits were made, kid you not, in about 15 minutes. For me, it’s about the prompts you use and how the technology interprets them. I wanted to make something that looked like something I would actually take. I did not add in my photographs to build them, all were created from the prompts in Midjourney.

Did you draw from your own archive of portraits for this?
All my ideas around AI come from my past and what my thinking is in the present. I never created “fantasy” images. I was never that person.  There always has to be some type of connection for me. I love what some folks are doing around the otherworldly images they’re creating. It’s just not where my head is.

What type of camera look and feel were you trying to create with this portrait?
I took a portrait of a woman named Jennifer over 20 years ago on polaroid 665. It’s beautiful and lives in the files somewhere. When I created that image I thought of some of her features and characteristics and used them as prompts along with camera type…lens…etc. The produced image was great but too clean so into photoshop I went to add grain and lens corrections. Again that was a 15 minute endeavor. I was getting messages on Linkedin from folks asking about the photograph. Is it a photograph? Where did I meet her…agency name…etc. The photograph of the old man, a friend asked if the one on the left was an old photograph of mine. There is the conflict for me. I like capturing stories, real stories from real people.  Things that make you feel a little something. I did not set out to fool anyone and it brings me to the question of honesty and authenticity. We live so close to dishonesty on a daily basis with social media, not all but a great deal is curated to show us the best of something.

Are you selling cameras in the hopes of focusing on this genre?
I’m never selling my film cameras. That was more of a joke between a few of us. I dropped film off yesterday…me and all the hipsters from Brooklyn. 

What platform(s) are you using?
Midjourney and some Dall-e

How would you bill for one of these and have you done any commissioned work?
Very good question and I do not have an answer yet. I spoke with a couple clients that are already over AI.

What is the current language around crediting AI work, to call it a photograph would be a disservice.
I would think it’s in the photo illustration realm.

Fashion treatment 1

Fashion treatment 2

All I had to do was remove a 6th finger for this AI image

Where do you see AI generated images having a place in the industry?
In a treatment or a brief, sure, it would work perfectly to show clients what I want something to look like. It went into photoshop for a little image correction to get it close to something.


Photographic self portrait, my true self and original smile

AI self portrait 1

AI self portrait 2

Have you done a self portrait?
I did a mash-up of a portrait of myself and a portrait of Salvador Dali from Irving Penn. It looked very little like a Penn portrait but I see part of my face in the results.

In making these test images how would you describe the moments of making that AI image vs moments making a photograph developed in a human exchange?

Doing an AI portrait takes up a different type of brain space. So much of my work is about human interactions: the conversations in the room, how you feel being with another person, their energy, and honesty.
AI does not hold any of that for me. Of course, it’s creative and the stuff people are doing is beautiful and special but what does their breathing sound like? How do they carry themselves in a room? These AI figures, they’re fun to create and I certainly see their value but I can’t touch them, I can’t trust them. I know it sounds crazy but the more I see of it the more I just want to keep having conversations with real people about real things.

Are you drifting back to a human experience of an interaction, and those are creating the prompts?
I try to keep the descriptions in the prompts to very real-life things.  Specific camera and lenses, tone and color, feelings, ethnicity and expression. It’s wild that these images come back to me with some of those elements included. Do I get more connected to the “subjects.” Nope. I think I can see these AI figures in treatments to sell an idea. Suppose there was a project in Ethiopia that I was pitching to a client and they needed visuals to get the idea across. I can spend a couple of hours creating visuals ….people…landscapes…feelings and then, hopefully, get them to send me there to create the actual work. I can also see a client with a very tight budget who just needs the AI work over actual photography. It’s a slippery slope.


The Daily Edit – The Telegraph Magazine: Kari Medig

The Telegraph Magazine

Photography Director: Andy Greenarce
Photographer: Kari Medig

Kari Medig has a deep appreciation of landscapes and film: moving through them and being still within them. Snow and photography are familiar friends to the British Columbia local. He grew up in the  boreal forest of northern BC where his dad converted a bathroom into a darkroom. This slow practice informs his current body of work and love of film. He sees the quiet impact skiing has on people and culture around the world finding joy and quirkiness in the simplicity of sliding down snow or otherwise. I caught up with Telegraph’s Photography Director Andy Greenacre
and Kari about his long term personal project, 1000 Words for Snow.

Heidi: Did you know about Kari’s ski work prior to this pitch?

Andy: Kari Medig first came to my attention back in 2014. I don’t remember if he approached the magazine first or us him, but we ran a portfolio of his quirky ski pictures in the magazine in January 2015.

How did this project come about?
We’ve stayed in touch over the years (I’m a keen skier too) and then he pitched this story to me last October. He was going to be in the UK for a short period of time, and would the magazine be interested in a photo essay on dry slope skiing in the UK? The way in for the piece was off the back of British slalom skier Dave Ryding who won at Kitzbuhl  in January 2022. Quite an achievement for a skier who started out on brutal dry slopes, in a country with no actual downhill skiing at all (not counting Scotland!)

Despite having snow parks for Brits, what about the work connected for you?
This immediately resonated with me, as someone who endured the ‘delights’ of dry slope skiing in my youth. Bleak, soulless places, guaranteed to leave your body feeling like it’s been dragged over a bed of nails, I knew Kari could produce a memorable set of photographs that would  bring a wry smile to our readers’ faces. I pitched his proposal at our weekly features meeting and the magazine editor was thankfully straight on board. I provided Kari with consent forms and away he went to shoot at various different slopes. I couldn’t have been happier with the edit he subsequently sent me, a selection of which ran as per the 3 spreads. 

Yes we have indoor snow parks now that mimic snow in a way that dry slopes could never do. But for generations of Brits who first learnt to ski on carpet and bristle, and those still enduring them now, Kari’s photographs are evocative of this strange and wonderful facet of British sporting life.

APRIL 2014 The upper level of the Borovets ski station, Bulgaria during the final weekend of operation for the season.
MARCH 2012 The base of the ski station at Solang Nala, Himachal Pradesh, India.
MARCH 2012 A young skier from Sissu village in the Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh province, India poses with his family’s livestock.
JANUARY 2007 A old Kashmiri ski guide poses with his old pair of skis in Gulmarg, Kashmir.
MARCH 2014 A man walks with his horse on the road leading to Oukaïmeden ski station in Morocco.

1000 Words for Snow

Heidi: How has he pandemic impacted your project as a creative or how did staying close to home inform your eye?
Kari: The pandemic was definitely rough for this project. Almost immediately, several important trips were cancelled. My usual approach was to work with writers on a ski/travel assignment and then add a few days to make images for the project. Almost all of the images were made that way. But during the pandemic’s early days I had to stay closer to home.

I spent a lot of time in the parking lot at my local ski hill (Whitewater Resort here in Nelson) where people were having picnics and BBQs on their tailgates. This was a fun way to keep progressing on the project. (SKI magazine did a story about this). In the summer of 2021 I managed to make it to southern Africa for Outside Magazine to cover the ski culture of Lesotho. It wasn’t easy with the pandemic still impacting lives, but I was able to do it in a way that kept everyone safe. Since then things have opened up and I am back on the road.

You’ve been doing this project since 2007, 15 years later, did you ever think this would become a commentary on climate change?
Great question. I’ve been working on it indirectly since my first ski assignment in Kashmir in 2007. It was only about seven years ago that I realized it was actually a cohesive body of work – this motivated me to be more purposeful with my shooting, specifically for this project.

Many of the places I’m drawn to have a tenuous relationship with snow. They’re often smaller, low elevation, or lesser known ski locations where I know I’m more likely to encounter something interesting or bizarre. For example, in Lesotho the ski hill is almost entirely made from artificial snow produced during the sub-zero temperatures at night. It’s a very unlikely place for a ski hill, one that is created largely by human intervention. One picture I was after was of the stark strip of snow against an arid rocky landscape. There was something symbolic and cautionary here considering our current climate trajectory.

I know your hope is to make this into a book, will you self publish?
Yes, I ultimately see this project landing in book format. I like the idea of people taking time with the photos, flipping through pages in a backcountry lodge or wherever the book finds a home. I think the images and subject straddle both the art and trade spaces, and I currently have an interested publisher. I’m working through a few final locations and hope it will be available within a few years.

How will you structure the edit? Will you structure the sequence to an Inuit poem, a time frame, location?
Such an important question, and one that I am not clear on just yet. I am currently still in the image-making process and am working with a very rough edit. I have turned all of the images into 4×4 prints and move them around on the blank wall of my office. I’m actually just back from a book sequencing workshop in Venice with photographer Sabiha Çimen. I deeply admire her work, especially her recently published book Hafiz which received much acclaim. It was incredibly helpful to have her go through my images and make an edit, especially since she has no connection to the ski world. Such a reassuring process. It affirmed I was on the right track and will help inform my image-making process going forward.

The Daily Edit – The New York Times: Justin Metz

The New York Times Magazine

Photographer: Justin Metz

Heidi: I know you’re a trained illustrator, when did you switch from agency Art Director back to your roots as an artist?
Justin: My early agency days were spent mostly as an artist but as I became more established I started to contribute ideas for pitches and over time my role evolved into more of an art director’s one. As a digital artist specializing in CG I found it freed-up me creatively – anything was possible, both logistically and budgetary. Later I was part of a staff cull at the agency and had to consider my next move which in the end turned out to be an easy decision as all of the advice was to become a freelance artist.

What specific learnings did your agency work transfer to your current work?
Wit and originality. The culture there was incredibly focused on finding new ways of approaching a brief, there was a lot of friendly competition which led to ever more interesting ideas. Working in an agency requires you to think differently and once learned it stays with you forever – it feeds into everything I do now. Editorial work is slightly different in that it needs a faster response – not just to the brief (I often get just a single day for concept and artwork) but from the consumer as it will be fighting to be heard above all the other covers on the newsstand.

What inspires you from the real world?
Everything and nothing, it seems that for me inspiration strikes only when the conditions are right which is often removing myself from the process altogether. There are some things which will often jump start things – browsing through an art book for instance, and reading around the subject can often reveal a phrase which sparks an idea. That first idea, however poor it might be, is the most important one as it usually unlocks the mind.

Where do you look for inspiration since most of your work is conceptual?
I think I subconsciously draw from past experiences and observations, I’m always studying how things look, how they behave and their effect on the environment, and how people respond to it. I think the real world is the best source of inspiration for conceptual work.

Do you have a journal or have any analog processes to sketch ideas?
Yes, I sketch out all ideas very roughly on a pad but I have them all in my head too. Good ideas are hard won and stick around forever up there.

Where do you get your source images from?
The usual stock libraries. If I need to use them the image will be built around them as it’s the only part I can’t fully control and if something isn’t working I’ll build it in CG which means I get to do whatever I want with it.

How do you know when you’ve solved the creative problem, or when the piece is done?
I try to provide at least five ideas on the brief and with one or two I’m usually confident I have something that will work well, more often than not though my preferred concept is not the one that makes it to final. I don’t consider anything I’ve done to be finished, just cut short to meet the deadline.

How do you unwind your mind, or try and relax it in order for new ideas to flow in?
Yes, it’s hard not to be on duty all of the time but I’m lucky – I have a great family which is very successful at diverting my attention. They’re funny and entertaining we spend time away from my work as often as we can.

Did you research Tesla crash images for this cover story and what direction did the magazine share?
I’ve worked with the New York Times Magazine a few times before and they’re a great team to work with so I knew it would be an interesting project. They knew they wanted me to smash up a few different models in different colors. The white one was intended for the cover and for me it was mostly a question of the extent of damage and making the images bold and impactful whilst ensuring they are as accurate as possible – I had to specifically research Tesla crash images as they’re very different ‘under the hood’. I wanted the images to look as if the crash has actually happened in the studio so the undamaged parts should look like a beauty shot.

The Daily Edit – Mark Murrmann: Street Photography and Photozines

Action 2, May 1998 (all band images)

City Slang book dummy (2014)

Rat Crawl (City Slang #1; June 2015)



Another Wasted Night (City Slang #6; May 2017)

Cig Machine / White Glove Test (City Slang #8 & #9; late 2018)

Human Car (City Slang #11; Nov 2019)







Burned Out (Nov 2022)

Photographer: Mark Murrmann

I got a chance to connect with Mark about his passion for street photography and the zines that grew out of that. He was in the front row during the recent boom of photozines and has created an impressive collection of over 25 self-published photozines, a process he calls an “intuitive, spontaneous exercise.” You can see the collection of all his photozine covers images here. By day he’s the photography director of Mother Jones and has been for the past 15 years.

Heidi: Are you printing out images to sequence for your digital projects or do they stay in Lightroom?
Mark: For digital only projects, usually all the work stays in Lightroom. Sometimes for bigger projects I’ll make prints, but it’s rare. For zines though, I first compile a batch of images in Lightroom, then will often print out small rough prints and hang them on a wall. But when I do the layouts, it’s usually a process of dumping photos in a layout, moving things around to see how they fit, so the wall sequence is more of a rough guide than a final edit.

How has your eye or your thoughts around self publishing changed from your first zine to your most recent?
It’s changed significantly. I published my first zine in 1992, a really random zine that kind of focused more on skateboarding. I had no idea what I was doing. It was a cut and paste mess. Over the years I learned by doing, by making mistakes, by seeing other zines. That zine, Sty Zine, started including more photography as my interest in taking pictures (of skateboarding and punk bands) grew. Eventually the photos from Sty Zine branched out into its own zine, ACTION! Photozine. In the 30 years I’ve been doing zines I’ve come to really love certain aspects (the publishing side: designing, printing, physically putting the zines together) and not care for other aspects (marketing and selling them). There are fundamentals that have remained: it has always been something of an intuitive, spontaneous exercise for me, it needs to be fun otherwise; I like playing around with different formats and sizes; I like to keep them cheap if I can. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at making zines, but there’s always room to do better I’ve considered getting more serious about publishing but think it would sap what I love out of it.

Of course, the tsunami of digital photography influences (some would say erodes) how we consume rather than look at photography. How have these social platforms influenced you both good and bad?
One way Instagram has negatively impacted me and my work is that I’m less inclined to share images that don’t “work” on Instagram. They’re either too subtle or they might be a wider shot (or even panoramic) that reads small on the platform. I’m making fewer zines. Before social media to easily share and consume photography, there was more of a necessity to publish as a way to get work off contact sheets (or hard drives), to be seen. The positive side of course is that I’ve reached people beyond my usual cadre of photo friends. It’s a way to get your work seen and a way to publicize printed zines. For me, there’s no better way to enjoy or consume photography than in a book or zine form. The way the images work with or against each other on a page (or sit by themselves on a page), the way they interact with the photo that came before and comes after as you turn the pages. The physical design, the paper, the printing. If done right, it all plays into the body of work you’re presenting. That said, I spend far, far too much time idling away on Instagram. Blah. But I also have too many photobooks and zines! Haha. The more limited impact of what’s in a book or zine leaves more of an impression with me though than the endless stream of images on social media.

When looking back at your early work, are there clues that ground the viewer in a certain decade? (beside clothes and style) You were shooting pretty tight back then to give the feeling of being “pushed up against the stage” at the punk shows. Do these feel timeless when you revisit the set?
I don’t think they feel timeless, though I was kind of going for something like that, especially with my music photography. There’s a definite shift in my work. I still like shooting right up front at shows, but one big difference is I used to use a direct flash and was very loose in my shooting. It was all film, almost all black and white. So, it has a pretty specific look. These days, especially with the high ISOs available on digital cameras, I rarely use a flash and am composing more carefully. When photographing shows, I still try to capture that feeling of being right up front, in the thick of it. But I’m also going to slightly different shows. Not quite as raucous, so the images feel different.

My street photography has a more continuous look and feel I think, though in the past few years I’ve been working with more color and with a slightly tighter lens (50mm). Also, I’ve noticed my street photography has fewer people lately. Part of that is just not being in downtown San Francisco five days a week. That’s had a big impact on my photography.

If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
It would kind of be what I am still telling myself now: push yourself more; be more focused in what you’re photographing; take more risks; do more. Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as an artist.


I know books are expensive, why zines? They both have a tactile quality but what about the zines suits your style of image making?
Good question. A while ago I started editing my street photography for a book. I got as far as making a dummy. It was more or less ready to go – but it just didn’t feel right. I was having a hard time with a few aspects of it. The cost, sure, but more fundamental questions: Why am I making a book? Who cares? What am I trying to say? It felt more like making a book for the sake of making a book and there are already too many books. Also, a book felt like a period, an end to a body of work on which I was still photographing. So, I took a step back, broke down the pile of images I was working from and decided to make a series of zines. I thought of them as editing notebooks in a way. Editing different zines from more or less the same body of work, focused around a different theme. The series was called City Slang and each zine was titled after a song, which provided the theme of the zine. Some were more successful than others, but that’s one thing I liked – I could roll the dice a bit. They were cheaper to make and I could sell them cheap. I made them small (most about 5″ x 4″), which allowed me to always have one on me to give away or sell. The printing wasn’t perfection, but it fit the work, as did the small size and full-bleed spreads. All around, I think the zines fit that body of work better than a book. That said, I’m starting to come around to an idea of a book again for the City Slang work since it feels more finished. We’ll see.

The zines I’m doing now aren’t within that series; they have a different look and feel. Still street photography, but very different from the City Slang work. Flatlands and Flatlands II are color, digest sized, hardly any people in the photos at all. Burned Out is all photos of burnouts, donuts, skidmarks.

Are you part of any photo collective currently?
I am part of a photo group called San Francisco City Photography Club. It’s a loose group of street photographers. Before covid, we were meeting once a month for critiques and to hangout, talk, putting together group shows and group zines. Despite meeting regularly over Zoom during covid, things have gotten pretty quiet with the group.
As far as shows, I should be better about pushing to do shows around zines I put out. That’d make sense – get the work up on walls for people to interact with it in a different way, sell some zines, have fun. Doesn’t even have to be fancy. Just make something more of it. I’m bad about that. That said, I did have a great show in Altadena, California in May at the Alto Beta Gallery. Brad Eberhard who runs the gallery specifically wanted me to show work from my Flatlands zines – color work from West Oakland. It’s a basic thing, but putting together a show makes you think about the work in a much different way than throwing together a zine. It was great. And it was awesome getting to show work outside of the Bay Area. I’d love to do a show with work from my last zine, Burned Out. I just haven’t put the work into making that happen (this is where the advice to my younger self applies to my current self).

What are you most excited about for street photography as a genre?
I have gotten pretty picky about street photography that gets me excited. I like work that is more subtle or ambiguous, more emotional, dark, gritty, makes you question what you’re seeing, lets you get lost in the image or that makes you feel something. That’s broad sounding, but within street photography I think that’s a relatively small niche. I feel like there was a pretty big swell of interest in street photography before covid and I have to admit, I would be happy if it has piqued and dies down a bit.

The Daily Edit – Condé Nast Traveler Spain


Condé Nast Traveler: Spain

Photographer: Diego Martínez 
Art Director: Angel Perea

Heidi: How did this project come about?
Diego: I’m a photographer involved in editorial production and advertising, but my passion is the mountains, climbing and mountaineering. For some time, I’ve been introducing this passion to my daily work and getting involved in different expeditions around the world as photographer and videographer. The combination of passion and work has taken me to the Himalayas and Antarctica.

For this project… I always wanted to go to the Dolomites just because it’s one of the best places for enjoying the beauty and nature of the Alps, so I made a plan and started to design my route. Once I was happy with the route, I connected with the editor-in-chief and the project evolved from there.

What was the editing process for selecting the cover image?
I always make a tight edit, not many images, just the ones that inspired me and the ones that fit their editorial vision. The team created this beautiful illustration from my work.

What can you tell us about the collaboration?
As a frequent collaborator in this mag (this is my 3rd cover) I always feel comfortable and happy to be part of this great family.

Heidi: Was this cover stitched then photographed?
Angel: The cover is an illustration, it is not stitched. We decided to do it that way because we didn’t have much time but wanted it to be super realistic based on a photo by Diego Martínez. My art team and I spent a lot of hours and tests until we got it right.

What are you working on now?
I was just in Nepal where I’ve been working in a project for a non profit organization called SOS Himalaya. filming and taking photos in the Makalu Valley.



The Daily Edit – Kenny Hurtado: National Geographic and Landscapes

Photographer: Kenny Hurtado

Heidi: You started out as a surf photographer, and now you’re on terra firma, what have you brought forward creatively?
Kenny: So, in 2020 I decided to primarily focus on landscape. It’s where I naturally feel the most comfortable as a photographer. Being outside consumed by nature looking at the details and its changing moods is very satisfying for me. I did a big life check-in with the path I was on as a photographer in 2020. I thought, what is most sustainable for me, It’s connecting to nature and spending time outside in the elements. Like how it was in my surf photography days. I enjoy portraits but I haven’t actually made a portrait since 2020, realizing I was only inspired to make portraits for the sake of attracting commissioned work which I enjoy, but I found myself only doing that for a potential outcome rather than enjoying the process. I get so much more out of being outside interacting with nature than I do anything else. Looking at my website now it’s all mostly portrait based stories. I still enjoy that work but it’s exciting to still be exploring other territories and focus on photography. Focusing on landscape in 2020/2021 started to pay off, a life long goal shooting for NatGeo came about in 2021 photographing the Redwoods of California last year, it was my first proper landscape story. It was so damn enjoyable. I’ve photographed landscapes for years but never solely focused on it. Still feels new and exciting to me which is a good thing to have after almost 20 years of on and off shooting. Hence on and OFF cause I took nearly all of 2022 off from photography. Mostly because we packed up and moved to Missouri. It took far longer to get settled in than I thought.

Now that you’re truly part of saving someone’s life, does creating photography feel different?
Absolutely, so, yes I work as an EMT on an ambulance meaning we see a lot of very sick people and unfortunately death. I never thought about how being a first responder would impact photography for me. I always wanted to be an EMT and now that I’m a father I needed something a bit more stable in my life, I can no longer be the dirt bag broke photographer I once was. But also having a license in a field that will always be there is reassuring to me as well, even if I find my way back to full time shooting I know there is something on the other side if need be. So, yeh being exposed to the sick and dying has 100% made my experiences in nature much more enjoyable. I find myself making photographs of things I never would have 5+ years ago like flowing streams and leaves, calendar-esque photography, ha like the ones you might find in your Aunt’s office. Scenes I just shoot for myself without the annoying ego attached.

What have you been photographing recently?  
I moved to Missouri exactly one year ago from West Sonoma County, Ca. Since moving here I hadn’t photographed much until recently. It took some time to get settled in and adjust to a schedule while working full time on an ambulance as an EMT, and chasing around a small child at home. Recently I Fixed up my 4×5 camera. I have been exploring the back woods and streams of the Ozarks, been really enjoying that slow meticulous process especially working in a whole new environment.

Have you been back to India, since that was a trajectory altering experience and how did that experience in India inform you and continue to guide you?
I have not been back to India since my last trip back in 2007. I feel like everyone who goes to India comes away with some kind of life altering experience or at least a new outlook on life. I was quite young when I went to India. Up until that point my world in my young adult life was all wrapped up in surfing, photography and all the comforts of western culture. I had done a decent amount of traveling, fortunate enough to do so, I had experienced lots of different cultures and seen how other people live. India was so far beyond what I had seen before most of my past travels were in 3rd world countries known for their surf destinations, but India was not. We were sent out on an exploration mission to find new waves in uncharted surf territory. We got the chance to spend time in towns nowhere near an ocean and the beach towns were not like beach towns I was used to in central and south america with Acai bowl huts and yoga retreats. This was culture at its purest. We saw thousands of people who truly had nothing, yet we saw smiles and kindness, we felt welcome even in the deepest parts of Southern India. These experiences inspired me to turn my lens from years of looking at the ocean and surfing to what was happening on land. It is obvious I know, India is so culturally vibrant and rich and an easy place to be inspired to make photographs, but for me it was the first time I truly looked at the land and took pictures of landscapes and people that I did not know. Remind you I was on a surf trip for a Surf Magazine, the story was about India’s unexplored waves. I ended up taking far more photographs of India’s culture and landscape than I did of surfing. India opened my eyes up to a new way of making photographs and suddenly I felt bored of simply just being a surfing photographer.
What finally made you say yes, I’ll do this video?
I was very hesitant to do it at first, but Caleob, the director of En Route was very passionate about telling that story. He had read an article Surfing Magazine did on my experiences working as a young surf photographer back in 2010, for some reason it stuck with him. I appreciated his vision and respected his willingness for the project, despite me being very camera shy and not wanting a spotlight.

What did you learn about yourself in front of the camera?
Well, guess I’m not as camera shy as I thought. Enjoyed the collaboration part, actually I didn’t mind being on the other side of the camera. Watching it now almost feels like a different person to me. En Route was filmed in 2 days in February of 2020 just a month shy of the pandemic. A few months after that I found out I was going to be a dad and a year later we were moving to Missouri and I ended up going back to school to get my EMT license. Would of never guessed all of that would happen a year later during the filming. To be honest I never even watched the whole thing from start to finish, I’ve only seen clips. It’s too awkward for me to watch, but it did inspire some ideas for the future.

The Daily Edit – Jeremiah Watt

Paul and Marni Robertson, Moonlight Buttress, Zion National Park, UT
Pat Kingsbury waking from a late night celebratory evening after the team send of Hell Yeah Bitch, 5.13, in Arch Canyon, Bears Ears National Monument, UT
Nick Sullens, and Will Barnes, lat minute prep before heading to the Captain., Yosemite NP.


Photographer: Jeremiah Watt

Heidi: Doing sport is a lifestyle, how has that added to your ability to get work, are you training for work or life?
Jeremiah: Photography is a reflection of the photographer and this is particularly apparent in adventure sport. My history immersed in the culture and joy of adventure sport and community is directly reflected in my shooting style and has created many of the client relationships I now hold close. Without my backstory, my photos – both adventure related and beyond – would lack that special sauce that helps them ring true. As for fitness, that varies and changes with age. I no longer think of gin and tonic as a recovery drink and actively work at maintaining fitness. The face of training varies depending on the season but consistent play, complex movement, downtime, and a conscientious diet are always a priority.

What would you tell your younger self about photography?
There’s a difference between taking photos and being a photographer. Be a photographer.

The blend of work, play and family shines bright in your work. Is there a discussion on trips whether this is work and play, or only one of those?
Not really. It’s always centered around an activity, experience, and just being present. The photos are secondary but if everything’s in place the photos are a natural extension of the experience.

How often do you road trip with your family?
I think of a road trip as being on the road for at least a week, so we only do one of those a summer. Typically we try for two international trips – one short, one long – and multiple shorter trips. During the summer and peak climbing season we’re often out for 2 – 3 days multiple times a month playing in the water, hanging in the hills, or climbing.

How has all the road tripping with family informed your work and family life? You’re playing a lot of roles, father, husband and professional.
This is really a chicken and egg type question. My wife and I had this lifestyle long before we had a family and before I picked up a camera I was either working in the outdoor space – ski patrol, occasional climbing guide –  or had a job that allowed maximum time in the outdoor space – bartender, medical flight dispatcher. When I picked up a camera documenting adventure sport and lifestyle was a natural fit and our family is a natural extension of our desire to maintain that lifestyle. In the order of roles, family always comes first and sometimes that means missing the family, to provide for the family, which can be a difficult thing to wrap one’s head around.

Alexander Watt adventure bound in Scotland.
Jennifer Watt, Sayulita, Mexico
Jennifer Watt, Sayulita, Mexico

Jenn Watt adventure bound in Scotland.

Do you ask your family for do overs?
Not really. Here and there I’ll ask for a specific shot or set up a situation that provides what I have in mind. Mostly it’s being aware of time and space and then situating myself to capture a moment organically. That being said, I often park the van, or pitch a tent, to catch first or last light, am very aware of where the sun is (or isn’t), and plan trips that work for spec shoots so it’s not nearly as haphazard as it sounds.

Did you travel much as a kid with your parents? Where does your love of the outdoors come from? 
Turns out this gets complicated…I grew up in a small town in Wyoming, the eldest of six children w/ little money, divorced parents, and a very rigid, religious upbringing on one hand, a liberal, informed, gracious background on the other. Like most folk from small towns in Wyoming, travel wasn’t on the table and traveling out of the state was a big deal. I didn’t see the ocean until my mid-twenties and the only flight I remember as a child was to Iowa to attend my father’s wedding in my early teens. For reference, Alexander played in the Caribbean before he could walk and has seen more at fourteen than I had at 30.

My step dad was Native American and we hunted as a means of putting food on the table. While my step father and I were never close, some of my fondest early memories are of hunting elk on horseback deep in the Wind Rivers and I’m sure those experiences helped build a foundation rooted in outdoor experience. Growing up in the shadow of religion was a fairly solitary endeavor and as a child I spent hours reading adventure and fantasy novels. As I got older playing outside with these stories in mind became a way to escape the chaos and push the boundaries. Later, in my late teens, I turned my back on religion, the family went haywire, and I was up for anything – good or bad – to fill the void created from growing up in a box. I wouldn’t say the times were dark but a promising future wasn’t part of the picture. Fortunately, I bumped into climbing, college, and photography shortly after, and that was the beginning of a new reality. Climbing then was as much a lifestyle as a sport and it offered a new family and path that laid the foundation for the life I live today.

Mohhamed Hussein al-Zarabia – father, host, guide, and center of all things climbing – in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

Phil Jack and Daniel Kiragu, Samburu Country, Kenya
The scene at Maasai Mara, Kenya.

You’ve spent the last few decades in the outdoor space, what projects speak to you the most lately?
While I’m always interested in authentic experience and hope to always work in that field, I’m looking for more conservation and alternative energy stories. Modern media has been consumed with the doom and gloom of the day and I’d like to share stories of hope and renewal. We’re not doomed (yet) and there’s huge potential to create a tomorrow that’s brighter than today, however, an alternative reality won’t happen on it’s own. I’ve developed a talent for creating compelling imagery and I’d love to use that tool to help propel us into the future. There’s huge potential for agriculture to shift global norms on food production and carbon sequestration through regenerative farming – I want to tell this story. Stunning habitats and cultures are on the brink of being lost forever – I’d love to create imagery to save and empower these spaces. Multiple brands are implementing full circle, sustainable business models – I want to promote those brands.
I’m excited for the Klamath to run free and plan on photography that.


Sean Brass, Caribbean outliers.
Kyle George, Dan Powell, and Sean Brass, Caribbean outliers.


Dan Powell and Kyle George, Caribbean outliers.
Zak Hoyt, SE Alaska

What are you working on now?I’m looking for a few fresh clients that would be a good fit – new work in conservation / alternative energy and/or brands that I can get behind as a human . Hopefully someone’s up to collaborate.

There’s a lot of space out there worth experiencing. Snow’s falling in the hills so the split board is waxed and out. The rock down low is prime and the rivers are flowing. Training is never ending and I’ve a few trips on the horizon that need to be flushed out. A buddy and I began #strokeyourbone as a self inflicted DIY bonefishing excursion nearly a decade ago. It’s become a winter highlight that’s taken us throughout the Caribbean and morphed into a valuable tool for collaboration. This year it looks like the Bahamas and we still have space for fresh brands to jump onboard. We aim for 10 days on location and the photos always stand out as a direct reflection of the good times. There’s a family trip to Fontainebleau this spring. And a Mexico surf trip. Plenty of space for new clients. Life really. Just working on the present.

The Daily Edit – Danielle Khan Da Silva: Patagonia Journal


Fall 2022 Patagonia Journal

Photo Director: Heidi Volpe
Photographer: Danielle Khan Da Silva
Writer: Nikki Sanchez

 Heidi: How have you used your talent as a photographer to reframe climate messaging and the grassroots narrative?
Dani: My whole life has changed in the small moments where I am shown the way—often through firsthand experiences, photos, stories, and films. This is why I am a storyteller—to try and share some of the insights and experiences I have been privileged to have with others.

In 2018, for example, I went to stand with the protectors (kia’i) of Mauna Kea with Nikki Sanchez (the writer on the story included in this interview) I was first introduced to the concept of “kapu aloha” and was honored to be immersed in a space where this love-based conduct was being practiced, in combination with regular ceremony and teachings. I had a stark realization of how different things could be. This forever changed me—who I am as a storyteller, as a leader, and as a human. Similarly, with this story for Patagonia about matriarchy and intergenerational knowledge transfer featuring Kayah George of the Tsleil-Waututh nation, I learned so much; from the community’s gentle ways, to their strong and steady approach to fighting battles against monstrous entities, to their songs and connections to the orca whales. This is why I feel it’s so important to tell stories about people and communities that hold knowledge that many of us have become disconnected from through the impacts of colonialism. This knowledge—which each of us has from our own lineages—is what I know in my heart contains the keys to our future.

It’s obvious that we need to “do something” to mitigate climate change and protect natural habitats (our best bet is truly to keep intact what we have as much as possible—we are only beginning to understand the value and complexity of ecosystems and their services), but more importantly we need to address the underlying cause, which is disconnected human behaviour motivated by greed, consumption, capitalism, and other values that are not in alignment with a healthy and abundant planet for all. Further, this conditioned, colonial mindset disregards our innate oneness and interconnectedness to all things, which is a key underlying concept in many Indigenous teachings.

We humans are social learners who also mimic each other, so to address the toxicity that we have become so accustomed to, and to combat social numbing and apathy, we need to see examples of how we can be; see what becomes possible when we reconnect to our reverence for sacredness.

What was your biggest challenge and biggest celebration?
My biggest challenges in this story were a) getting into freezing cold water in a dry suit to document some of the images; and b) trusting that everything would turn out how it needed to. We had challenges with weather and time, and sometimes the process of surrender also feels like a celebration. It’s been really special to me to get to know Kayah more deeply.

How much did your studies, research and various degrees inform your approach to photography?
Quite a bit. I studied conservation biology, psychology, and did an MSc in Environment and Development. I learned a lot about critical thinking, and learned a lot about unlearning. There was something about the way I was being taught, what I was being taught, particularly in my undergraduate degree that I found really unsettling. I found myself questioning a lot more than we were being asked to—Why were the sources so limited? Why were we constantly referencing white conservationists and applauding trophy hunting and amplifying racist views about Indigenous peoples and their knowledge? I always loved Vandana Shiva’s groundbreaking work, for example, but her ideas on eco feminism were literally laughed at by some of my professors. In this way, we become conditioned. So while I sought out knowledge about how to protect the planet (from ourselves), I wasn’t satisfied by what I was learning in school on multiple levels.

I do find myself also applying a lot of my psychology background in my work. Systemic change is what is truly needed for us to make any significant changes, and for systemic change to occur, we need political will. Political will comes from the power of the people and our dollars.

For us to know our political power, I believe it helps to be intrinsically motivated—to cultivate an appreciation for personal and community growth, purpose, curiosity, cooperation, enjoyment, and expression. Intrinsic motivation essentially involves doing something because it’s personally rewarding, versus extrinsic motivation, which involves doing something to earn a reward or avoid punishment. Extrinsic values seem to be more closely related with a capitalist approach where we are constantly given messaging about what to buy or how to change ourselves, to be “winners,” to engage in competition, and to earn perks and benefits in exchange for a behaviour. My studies into psychology have revealed that the more we strengthen extrinsic motivation, the more we weaken intrinsic motivation and vice versa. Most communications today strengthen extrinsic motivation, yet there is a real case to be made for strengthening intrinsic motivation for us to be the change we hope to see.

Shifting the values of the dominant culture is not easy. The dominant culture values consumption, capitalism, exploitation, convenience, comfort, etc which are not aligned with the values needed to support all beings into the future in a healthy way. I see the majority of climate change messaging as being very “distant” to most humans, and very difficult to relate to. To bring it closer to the heart means moving people to recall their own connection with all that is sacred, and to foster a reverence for this beautiful creation we are a part of.

Photography has allowed me to learn so much by being a witness and understanding peoples’ lives and stories.

What behavior change or mindset do you hope to challenge with this work?
I personally see it as my responsibility as a settler in so-called Canada to do whatever I can in exchange for living here as a treaty person, and I urge those situated on unceded land (95% of so-called British Columbia is unceded yet settlers keep taking up residence there, and the coastlines continue getting affected by oil spills/toxicity, noise and light pollution, development, etc.) to think about their obligations as guests.

My hope is threefold:
1) To further the collective healing process (Recently, our MPs voted unanimously to name what has happened in so-called Canada with residential schools a genocide that has affected Indigenous peoples across the nation, and acknowledging the harm is an important step);

2) To ensure the Tsleil-Waututh know they are not alone in their fight to stop the TMX pipeline expansion and other extractive entities from destroying the land and putting the inlet and their kin (human and non-human) at risk from oil spills and other disasters. They need much more support from settlers. This is not just their fight, it’s all of our fight. And what’s at stake canning be replaced.

3) That settler audiences will see these stories and do their part to advocate through their votes and voices. Indigenous people are responsible for protecting 80% of the biodiversity on the earth but make up only 5% of the population. Science is only beginning to catch up to what Indigenous people have already known. They also make up 5% of the population in so-called Canada but make up a disproportionate percentage of prison populations, suicides, children in foster care, and violence against women due to the prevalence of systemic racism and colonized mentalities.

The Daily Edit – 100 Battles: Amy Silverman

100 Battles Magazine

Photography Director: Amy Silverman

Heidi: What was your approach to the photo direction?
Amy: The publishers of this project are Epic (owned by Vox Media) along with a company called Headline. Josh Davis (Epic co-founder) and Jon Steinberg (then creative director at Epic) approached me about photo directing a new business magazine with the idea that it would be large format, print-only, and photo forward. One of the publications that inspired them is Victory Journal. At first I was skeptical. I immediately said the gulf between sports and business is exactly what allows Victory to do what they do. Sports are inherently graphic and business is…not. I said I would do it only if the decisions we made about what stories to include were based on whether or not it would make a good photo story (which, of course, is totally subjective). If they really wanted it to be filled with full page photos, that had to be the first priority and they had to buy in to that. To me, it meant tech and science (not to mention anything or anyone in an office) were, for the most part, off the table. My experience at Wired taught me a lot about photographing folks in labs and photographing tech stories (or…finding conceptual solutions to illustrating tech stories usually!) and I didn’t think that would carry longer, photo-driven stories. We also had to steer away from stories that revolved around founders in the ways that many business magazines tend to do. I knew we would need a lot more than portraits to keep it compelling and, again, these guidelines felt crucial to me in terms of making it successful. They agreed and our Editor, Alana Levinson, was very committed to it as well.

What were you looking for in the imagery?
My thinking around the imagery was, How can we fill pages with really graphic, energetic shots that work well at that scale? The magazine is 11.5” x 16.5”. It’s really big! One of the first stories that was proposed was one about a young woman in Los Angeles who makes piñatas for people like Rihanna and also for a million other things like corporate events and quinceañeras. She is part of a long tradition of piñata makers. Her grandmother and father both did it in LA and she is really trying to find new ways to do it— as an art form and as a business. This felt like a perfect example of what we were looking for and I thought Michelle Groskopf could do a great job of capturing the colors and somewhat messy business of her process. It’s all very handmade. We wanted it to feel fun and irreverent.

When we started out I did think we may have a mix of some more conceptual work or even some illustration but as we assigned the first couple stories, it became clear that going with more documentary or portrait photographers with a very strong style would be the way to go. We really wanted to include stories from all over the world so I started digging for photographers in China, South Africa, Central America, all over really. I looked for people who walk the line between documentary and fine art. A writer pitched a piece about gum makers (chicleros) in the Yucatan and I immediately thought of Juan Brenner who I really admired but had never worked with. His interest in photographing the culture of his native country of Guatemala made it feel like a great match to me and that story is just beautiful- and it really feels like him.

A writer in China pitched a story that takes place in mainland China and we ended up having to work around Covid restrictions. (This was all happening in mid-2021.) Travel restrictions were extremely tight and I couldn’t even send someone from Hong Kong so I did a lot of research and ended up working with photographer Yuyang Liu, based in Shanghai, who did an incredible job. We were really blown away when those images came in. I made it very clear to each photographer that we would run images as full page spreads so they absolutely had to keep it in mind while shooting.

Our budget was not that big so I also looked really intensely for any stories that we could pick up if it made sense. I found a project that Sameer Raichur had done a while back about wedding chariots in India. It is a really beautifully photographed series showing families with their cars and then the cars turned into these elaborate chariots used to carry the bride and groom in wedding processions. This felt like a great opportunity to just run a series of beautiful portraits.

I could really just talk about every story individually because, in the end, I try to always do what I think is right for the story so I knew there would be a lot of variation between them. I decided not to let the idea of an overarching style get in the way of using who I thought was the right photographer for the individual piece. And there were so many opportunities to make great images and have fun with it. I didn’t want to there to be any one-offs that felt completely different from everything else but I felt like there was room for flexibility.

What makes this business magazine different, and how was the business landscape changed?
We wanted to cover the people and the businesses that get left out of mainstream business publications. Our editor, Alana, had no allegiance to traditional business publications. She is someone who really doesn’t back down from being irreverent and questioning everything. She is fearless in that way! We felt like it was the perfect time, coming out of the pandemic, when the world is rethinking the idea of work, to look for some people who are doing it differently. To look at work in general- through pieces like Night Shift about the culture of work in Japan or to find people who are filling needs in creative ways like the company Cloudy Deliveries, in a township outside of Cape Town. That business is sending young people out on bikes to deliver anything that people need- combining social services for young kids who are looking for something to do as well as filling this real need that is not being filled by companies like Amazon who just don’t deliver to places like that. The story Superfly is about a company in Singapore that is extracting biomaterials from black soldier flies- basically using local compost to generate materials that can be used in many different products. So we let in a science story because I really wanted to run a double page spread of fly larvae!! The hope was to celebrate the idea of entrepreneurship by finding disruptors and innovators who aren’t necessarily flashy or in the spotlight.

How often does this come out?
This was our pilot issue. I would so love to make more but right now I’m not sure if there will be an issue #2. Let me know if you want to fund more!

Tell us about the name?
The search for a name was tough. We all brainstormed and threw around ideas for months going through several iterations before settling on 100 Battles. That was one of the few things that needed to get approval from Headline who otherwise gave us a ton of freedom editorially. So it took us a while to land it but 100 Battles is quote from the famous Sun Tzu book, The Art of War“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.” We definitely aren’t pushing the idea of competitors as enemies but think of it more as an acknowledgement of the amount of work entrepreneurs must put in to be successful and the amount of understanding it takes to be able to break the rules.

If you want to hold a copy in your hands, you can find it here:

Other contributors include in order of appearance
Cover: Mary Kang
Kate Peters
Gulshan Khan
Sameer Raichur
Juan Brenner
Amy Lombard
Jesse Rieser

The Daily Edit – Ilanna Barkusky: Color Series and Simply Stronger


Ilanna Barkusky: Color Series


Heidi: A significant portion of your photo career was steeped in the ski industry, what are you bringing forward from that experience creatively, and what are you leaving behind?                                                                                                                            Ilanna: Skiing was my foundation for a creative career. Over those years, I learned how to conceptualize and pull together the images I wanted to create. I loved shooting for the magazines, and the democratic nature of submitting your best work at the end of the season to photo editors around the world. I always had a plan for the creative images I wanted to capture over the winter. I used to organize night shoots at the local mountains or convince a group to build and ride a Mount Seymour backcountry jump at sunset. I learned the benefits of going the extra mile to create a photo when I saw them published in some of my favorite magazines. That made hiking with photo gear in my backpack or dealing with the elements entirely worth it. When I started broadening my horizons outside of skiing, I left behind having such a specific niche driving my creativity. With that, I gave myself permission to experiment and dive into different genres.

How has this project helped you transition from Canada to California?
This series got a significant amount of traction, which luckily coincided with the transition and growth of moving from Canada to California. Through that, I learned the real importance of personal work, and how it can truly be the catalyst needed to achieve your wildest goals.

What made you choose courts and how do you find them?
I was looking to intersect movement and shadows with shapes and lines. Tracks, as well as tennis and basketball courts, was a perfect fit for the concept I was looking to explore. Finding these locations was straight forward. I would sometimes browse Google Earth, but I also kept an eye out for them in my daily life once the project was underway. One of my favorite locations that I shot for basketball and skateboarding was found out of the corner of my eye while driving on a bridge in my hometown of Vancouver.

Why the drones?
I originally bought a drone because I wanted to be on the cutting edge of something new and exciting within photography. I quickly realized that the overhead, top-down angle of a drone creates these simplistic compositions that I really gravitate towards. Not only is it a unique perspective that many of us do not see on a regular basis, but it also feels like a poetic way to look at the world.

Where and how are you finding the talent?
For the Colour Series, I was mainly asking friends of mine to be a part of the project. Over the years, I’ve been able to work with such incredible athletes and meet wonderful people along the way. I always circle back and ask people I’ve worked with previously to keep shooting together. I really thrive on creative collaboration, and it is one of my favorite aspects of the job.

What sport has replaced the experience and flow of skiing for you, if any?
I think it will be hard for any sport to replace the space that skiing held for me. That aside, in terms of a similar experience, I have always been obsessed with the ocean. I’m looking to spend more time in the water whether it is surfing, paddling, and getting my scuba certification.

What have you been working on lately?
My most recent project was one of the most rewarding so far! I directed and produced a personal project called Simply Stronger with 6 different athletes and an amazing crew. We ended up with a 45s spot and some creative cutdown videos anywhere from the 6-15 second range.

Why the 6 second challenge?
If the idea of something scares me, I try to give it a go at the first available opportunity to demystify it. The idea of condensing storytelling into a 6 second timeframe seemed daunting, but it is also needed in today’s advertising/commercial landscape. We incorporated some motion design into the final cuts, which I think really elevated the final product. I’m looking forward to doing more!

The Daily Edit – Ilanna Barkusky: Color Series and Simply Stronger

Ilanna Barkusky: Color Series


Heidi: A significant portion of your photo career was steeped in the ski industry, what are you bringing forward from that experience creatively, and what are you leaving behind?
Ilanna: Skiing was my foundation for a creative career. Over those years, I learned how to conceptualize and pull together the images I wanted to create. I loved shooting for the magazines, and the democratic nature of submitting your best work at the end of the season to photo editors around the world. I always had a plan for the creative images I wanted to capture over the winter. I used to organize night shoots at the local mountains or convince a group to build and ride a Mount Seymour backcountry jump at sunset. I learned the benefits of going the extra mile to create a photo when I saw them published in some of my favorite magazines. That made hiking with photo gear in my backpack or dealing with the elements entirely worth it. When I started broadening my horizons outside of skiing, I left behind having such a specific niche driving my creativity. With that, I gave myself permission to experiment and dive into different genres.

How has this project helped you transition from Canada to California?
This series got a significant amount of traction, which luckily coincided with the transition and growth of moving from Canada to California. Through that, I learned the real importance of personal work, and how it can truly be the catalyst needed to achieve your wildest goals.

What made you choose courts and how do you find them?
I was looking to intersect movement and shadows with shapes and lines. Tracks, as well as tennis and basketball courts, was a perfect fit for the concept I was looking to explore. Finding these locations was straight forward. I would sometimes browse Google Earth, but I also kept an eye out for them in my daily life once the project was underway. One of my favorite locations that I shot for basketball and skateboarding was found out of the corner of my eye while driving on a bridge in my hometown of Vancouver.

Why the drones?
I originally bought a drone because I wanted to be on the cutting edge of something new and exciting within photography. I quickly realized that the overhead, top-down angle of a drone creates these simplistic compositions that I really gravitate towards. Not only is it a unique perspective that many of us do not see on a regular basis, but it also feels like a poetic way to look at the world.

Where and how are you finding the talent?
For the Colour Series, I was mainly asking friends of mine to be a part of the project. Over the years, I’ve been able to work with such incredible athletes and meet wonderful people along the way. I always circle back and ask people I’ve worked with previously to keep shooting together. I really thrive on creative collaboration, and it is one of my favorite aspects of the job.

What sport has replaced the experience and flow of skiing for you, if any?
I think it will be hard for any sport to replace the space that skiing held for me. That aside, in terms of a similar experience, I have always been obsessed with the ocean. I’m looking to spend more time in the water whether it is surfing, paddling, and getting my scuba certification.

What have you been working on lately?
My most recent project was one of the most rewarding so far! I directed and produced a personal project called Simply Stronger with 6 different athletes and an amazing crew. We ended up with a 45s spot and some creative cutdown videos anywhere from the 6-15 second range.  

Why the 6 second challenge?
If the idea of something scares me, I try to give it a go at the first available opportunity to demystify it. The idea of condensing storytelling into a 6 second timeframe seemed daunting, but it is also needed in today’s advertising/commercial landscape. We incorporated some motion design into the final cuts, which I think really elevated the final product. I’m looking forward to doing more!

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.