Katherine Hattam: the history pictures

Katherine Hattam: the history pictures


(pencil scraping) – These are bunny tails from the beach. We used to, these little things actually they don’t have
round things like that but they become round in mine. My daughters pointed this out to me, she said it’s like a way, it’s kind of a version of mindfulness. My drawing and planning
these things are a way of, there’s some kind of,
it’s not like therapy but they’re very kind of restorative. I do really, I really do like making work. I mean it’s something contains me. It’s like a, it kind of
feels like a necessity. I find it a little scary if
I’m not going to be able to. I actually do a lot of like,
these kind of sketches, like this actually in, like
as I go to sleep as night and things too and I also
make some of them just where they’re with my eyes closed, whether I was trying to think
how to draw William Buckley and I thought I’d just
do it with my eyes shut and see what happens. This was done with my eyes shut and it was the idea of
trying to get away from, I really don’t like realism and I was really trying
to get away from it. I mean I don’t think I
have too much trouble with being realistic but it’s like I wanted to kind of
try and free myself up, and I do actually like the
fact that this fish is swimming into the fish trap which would
be totally unintentional. And then it’s like these are
reminders of the blue sea, him being pink and then
red here and then the blue. The Indigenous woman being
blue with black hair, and then the baby being blue. And I just, instead of having black and white I wanted pink and blue. It’s like me developing a vocabulary. So I’m, yeah I’m just doing
little notes for myself. It is interesting to look back. I did these, I don’t know,
like two years ago I think, I’m trying to work out, I don’t
know why he’s got shorts on. I also do it with my
other hand and I do both, but I mean these are just done straight, but they still don’t look
that different from that but it’s a really rough sketch. So that I’m not getting bound
up with like how to do it, but thinking where I have things. No idea, oh that’s saying
the canvas in the kitchen, that’s saying where I should, what picture I should do it on. There’s probably about 10 of these books for this particular project. So, and then I go from a decision as to whether it’s going
to be oil on canvas or if it’s going to be a kind of collage, which will be charcoal and gouache and book pages or on paper. I started and I actually
worked this out the other day, so in 1994, I made a picture from the age, deaths, age, births,
deaths and marriages page, because my father died. So, then I started the book pages a bit. A bit then but then I really, really went on with them in
2004 when my mother died. So, it was like when she
had, she was a massive reader and there were like, lots
of books that we all, we laid all the books out in the house, right through the house
upstairs, down everywhere and all chose them and then,
and actually what happened was you got a lot of books
that you already had. So I recycled them, is how I put it, and then that ran out,
and so then I buy them. But I’ve been doing them for a long time. (pencil scraping) The thing, the decision I make
during this is also to like, what I was thinking
about this with this one, is this one will be like, negative space. And I like the fact that he, Trevor Jones, who used to own the book, is in there. It really, really gives
me a lot of pleasure. And there’s some books
I’ve got where it says, happy birthday mum and
it’s from me to my mother. I like doing those, those little emotional
connections in there. Book pages I mainly choose
so that I want text, no text. Like, I don’t want too much text so like, if you have too much text it’s like really a different surface to work
on, so I like having it, it’s like what I really like
are the pages that aren’t as, don’t have too much written on them. So you only get a few
of those in each book. So you need to be able to
find some, like really, kind of cheap, crap old books
that are, you can tear up. So then I, this is one of the things that I really enjoy doing,
is putting some things into some of these spaces, which I’m trying to think if there are, there’s not so many in
this picture but here, there’s a space which I’ll put some in. Like, I’ll choose an image, I think I’ll put the Great
Tradition in there, maybe. And the other thing, when I’m doing this, is I choose between a
torn edge or a cut one and this one I will make a torn edge, so I’ll just put that in there. I have to get rid of… And in here, there’s some,
so Home is the Prisoner. I don’t actually really, I
don’t know if I like that, so I’ll probably put
something else over that. And then I kind of
manipulate the accident. So, I’ll go over that. But maybe Home is the
Prisoner might be useful, maybe that might make
sense for William Buckley. So I’ll put that there, no,
I think I’ll put that there. I’ll spend a bit of time
thinking about that. So, I like this one, like
To my three sons, Ian, Douglas and Gordon,
victims of the principal. Herein described in this book
is effectively dedicated. What the hell does that mean? This is the point where I kind of decide the palette because, if I’m
going to go with like, blues, I’d probably use blue book spines, but I think I’m probably going to go with the orange ones, but
I still can have like, a blue one in there or two, but I think this one I’ve
been waiting to use this, the go-between, because
that is what he was. So, probably there. So, I’ll probably at
the moment I’ll do that and then I’ll work out later if that’s… I might take one of them out. But, I also do like these
two different blues. Like, there’s the blue
sort of these really, that’s like a phthalo blue and white and this is like an
ultramarine blue and white. So it’s like I have… There’s also the different oranges like these ones, I probably
would swap this one around. So, it’s like a little work
within the work kind of thing and then, the next stage
is I would seal this and then I work with gouache into that. It really works for me, work,
having my studio at home and, it always has. Like, I worked all through
having small children. I used to get up at five
and I’d just get two hours or something and I mean, I still do that. I like being able to go for
half an hour, or an hour, or a day, or go back at night
or I mean, it just suits me. I like the two things being
connected but separate. It feels like a great privilege, to me. The thing about these
two spaces is that, like, where we were, the domestic
space and where I cook and live and all of that, is that
that is also a thinking space for me, it’s where I
draw and plan pictures and have ideas like all the
sketches and things that I never do any of those in here. They’re always down either
as I’m about to go to sleep, or while I’m having dinner
or sitting at the table. It’s like they’re in that space. And I would never paint in that space. It’s like, so and then
in here, this is divided, so this is the area for gouache. Then I know this pink is a really, so it says Very Good Pink, it’s
like it’s really nice pink. So that’s for gouache here,
so that I don’t accidentally dip a brush with turps on
it into and then in here, over here I work on the oil, I either work up against the
wall or on the table and I do actually, a bit of both.
– Yeah. I work flat and then I put it upright and it looks very different. – [Tai] You don’t use an easel though? – I’ve got an easel out
there, but I haven’t used it for about 10 years.
– Yeah, interesting. – I use it to kind of
put, store things on. So, we decided to call the
exhibition, The History Pictures. – [Tai] Where do you want
to put it, over there? – Maybe over here. It turned out to be a better
title than I’d imagined, it’s like, I thought of that
specifically as relating to William Buckley but
it’s actually worked out that it does in different ways describe the three aspects of the show. So, the first, how I now see it, is like the first aspect
of history is like, my personal history. The second will be like,
history of William Buckley, and the third will be revisionist history. So, it’s like the third is
a more directly feminist, there’s a kind of feminist
subtext to all of them, but that it’s like they move from the personal out towards it. This is like the initial, like the most personal version of it. This is the autobiographical version. It’s like my history, so
it’s my first phone number, the dogs which were my
son Charlie’s that have, they’ve been in my work for a long time. And this is like, the
landscape of the holiday house that we went to, it which
where you’d look through the trees to the sea. And nearly everyone I talk to goes, oh yeah, I remember my first phone number. – [Tai] I don’t know if I do. – [Katherine] But maybe
your generation don’t because you’ve…
– 9, 5, 2. I, no I don’t, I can
probably remember the first four numbers but. – [Katherine] No, I can easily, WF4570 is what I remember
and it’s like, it’s really– – [Tai] How old were you when you first– – Well it was partly that my
father was an obstetrician and so, the phone was
very important to him. People would ring and
say my waters have broken or whatever.
– Yeah, of course. And so he had to sit by the
phone and we always used to say if the house burned down, what
we would do is take the phone and I thought, what a ridiculous thing. So the phone was very important, but it’s also pre-mobile, y’know. It’s like, I remember quite a
few of my early phone numbers but not yet.
– Wow, that’s amazing. – [Katherine] But it was like,
that’s also that I wanted this text in there that
wasn’t like saying, I believe this or that or whatever. – [Tai] Or literal description. It was almost just like a memory. – Yeah, and that’s also something
where things just come as like, an idea and you think yeah, I’d like to make a picture about that. – [Tai] I think colours are
kind of like that, don’t you? – Yeah, definitely. The thing about William Buckley that, it’s been a long interest of mine because, partly because we lived, we
holidayed and then we lived down that West Coast of
Victoria where he spent a lot of time, and I could
really imagine where he was so, that kind of helped me, I don’t know, paint my way of seeing it. He was a bricklayer in London who committed some kind of minor crime and was sent as a convict
to Australia and he escaped and he finished up spending 32 years living with the Wathaurung, to the extent that he
forgot how to speak English, which is something that
is fascinating, I think. So, it’s a bit, it’s a story
about he became a go-between, it’s about language, and it’s also, for me, it was like, what I was interested in was
these women who were invisible, was like the Indigenous
women he lived with, and apparently had a child with one. I mean, these stories are hard to confirm. But then, and then later
when he left, he married a white, he left, he was given pardon, and he married a white woman and I always wonder
what she thought about. Asked him about what he’d
done in those 32 years, how he’d, what was that life like? So that, I’m interested in kind of, trying to make visible the invisible. So it is to do with me
thinking about what is my understanding of being alive. We can see in the paintings
like, I’ve wanted to paint him not as this solo figure, looking,
like in a group of people where, and there’s,
y’know the things they, baskets and that kind of thing there. – But then you’ve got
this as the sort of like, contemporary life here,
with the mobile phone and I mean, is this sort of– – That’s a very intentional thing, because I didn’t want,
in the thing of it being The History Pictures, I
didn’t want it to be me pretending I was there, I
wanted like this is where I’m, this is my perspective and
it’s now with my computer, my phone, my camera, my hairbrush, all these things that
kind of matter to me. And so, that was an
intentional thing of saying, that’s me looking back to that. William Buckley talks
about seeing a bunyip at Waurn Ponds and Waurn Ponds is where there’s all these shopping
shops and things in Geelong and my son Charlie lives there and I said, what’s Waurn Ponds like? And he said, you can’t
tell now, it’s just built. You know, but I always used to shop there, so I love the idea that they
saw a bunyip at Waurn Ponds. – [Tai] Just in Aldi or something. – Yeah, and so, so what
I was trying to work out how would I draw. It’s like trying to think how
would I draw William Buckley? And then I thought, how
would I draw a bunyip? And then I thought, actually,
I’ll do it as a self portrait. Then the next is the Philip Guston. The Philip Guston is
like seeing a painting, the painting of Philip
Guston is called My Pantheon, which is a painting of the light-bulb, which is characteristic
with his studio and the part of the easel and then a list
of the artist that he admires, which were like he takes in
his head into the studio. The ones I take into
the studio, on the whole are more recent and also, are women. There’s the Philip Guston, my version of the Philip
Guston painting, My Pantheon, and there’s my version of
it, My Pantheon, and then– – [Tai] which is an existing painting, put into the painting. – Yep, that’s right. And then, this painting here is, this one where I’ve come round to thinking I don’t want to do
something about a pantheon and it’s like I, this is not
finished, but it’s like a list. So, I said not so much
a pantheon, more a list. – [Tai] It’s good to make a list. – Well, it’s also not hierarchical. So, it’s like, it’s a different thing. But it was also a conscious exercise of thinking of, like,
naming women artists, so that they’re not rather
than them being invisible. – But so that other
people can name them too. Like, people might come and
take notes or, you know. – [Katherine] The thing
is that it dawned on me, quite late, was that it’s not that women artists have not existed, it’s that they’ve been invisible. They’ve been invisible, it’s like, and they’ve been invisible to me. I did not go to art
school being taught that. – No, we live in a time now
where we are rewriting a history through a female lens and it’s almost like that has to happen
through painting as well, which is quite an interesting
way to look at your work. – Well, I still think that we do live in a patriarchy and I
think I’m part of it, so it’s kind of like
having to un-think that. It’s like stuff dawning on me, really, and it’s like for that took me a while. – With lots of paintings that
I love, and with your work, it’s a way of working
out what you see, y’know? And sometimes literally
working out what you see, but also just making sense of what you see in your environment, but
also in your mind, like, your sketch of William Buckley’s
partner with her blue face, it’s like, she obviously
didn’t have a blue face, but you’re working out what you see. – Well, I was just thinking,
how do I depict this? And the thing is that I thought, I’ve thought about this
later is that my husband has, was very red haired and
pale, and kind of freckly, and worked out in the boiling
hot sun in Broken Hill and did get melanoma,
that’s what he died from. – Yeah right. – And so I think it’s like,
and also he was much older than me so it was like, this sense where my experience connected
with that, whereas– – You identified with her.
– Well, he went to Oxford, the year I was born,
and I remember thinking, I used to think, so what happened? What was that bit of your life? There’s a whole chunk of
his life I didn’t know, which is much. So I think there’s that. It’s like I think all
these things combine. – And so that layering of
history is really interesting, I think that ties back to the
title, The History Pictures, because you’re layering your own history in your relationship, over that. – Well I’m realising it after the fact. I did not plan that.
– No, it’s unconscious. It’s really interesting, but
it’s why you’re attracted to a certain story. It’s quite interesting.
– Well, why I stay, yeah, you can’t, you’ve got to have some really deep connection with it, I think. It’s something. I think a lot of the really
interesting stuff that happens in making images is in the
making, and it’s like where you are concentrating on making it and you don’t realise what’s, you know. That’s why the whole thing
of an artist’s statement is kind of nonsense. (pencil scratching) The thing that I find slightly, it’s interesting and it’s
also slightly horrifying is how long I stay with images, and I… the window has been like a
looking from the inside out has been something in my work
for a really, like for years. For all sorts of reasons,
I see the world through a psychoanalytic lens, and
so I see that the inside and what’s going on inside
your head affects how you experience the outside world. What’s happening in the outside
world affects your head, so there’s a porousness
between those two things. And I think the pictures were about that, like for a long time, they were about the table as the inside world, and that was actually
where my real interest was, and then the outside world would be like, a more general kind of landscape. I mean, maybe sometimes
it was a bit more specific but it wasn’t really. The real drive of the
thing for me was depicting and kind of celebrating the
domestic, like the interior. The domestic as it made concrete, like my interior life,
so it wasn’t just like, but it was about focusing on the, y’know, the teapot, the coffeepot, the computer, all of those things that made up my life. And I notice in them, my first phone number, the painting, is the window is slightly
starting to recede, because I deliberately kind
of cut it out at the halfway and then, in the other paintings, most of the rest of the
paintings, it’s not there at all. And the table is the
other image that, like, part of my language, which is seeing the landscape over the table, and the table has become something
that kind of floats more, and between the two spaces, so it’s like, for me it’s like where making the work tells you something about yourself, rather than the other way ’round. You kind of realise things
from how the process works. I think it’s told me that, I don’t know how much, I mean, I think it’s in part to do
with fact of my husband dying, and like, we had a very
happy 40 year marriage, and I think it’s been, like this sense that I am now more out in the world, it’s like by force of circumstance. But also I’m kind of
ready for that but yeah, I think it tells me
that my life is changing and I see the world differently. I think the, I don’t, it’s
not all autobiographical, but the life and the work
do affect each other. Well, the life affects the work. Really, inflects the work. – I love all those women
that took a long time to get there because I think
that that’s a realistic kind of way of looking at the practice. – I think everybody does it
differently, but I think that that is the, I kind of,
feels like that to me, and that is partly that
I’ve had two marriages and three children, and it’s like that it does feed into the work
but it also slows it down. I feel like things happen and then, I don’t feel like I think,
oh, so I’m gonna have this late starting, slow. I don’t feel like that, I just think, oh. I look back and think, that’s what happened.
– Yeah, it’s cool. – It’s like, and you’re
just doing it day by day, you know, what do you want to do and what you think you
should do, and it’s like and you don’t always get it right. I think the hardest thing is for me is gonna be with this show, is to stop. It’s like it’s going to be like I’m gonna go.
– Well, you’ve got more to choose from.
– Oh I have to let the rest ’cause I push a lot of
life away to do this. I think everyone is different, I mean, every artist is
different, but in general, and it’s certainly been my experience, is that it takes a long
time for an artist to form. I feel like now, things
are beginning for me and it’s been a long,
yeah, it’s a long process. It’s been a long and
windy path and it’s all, but I don’t, it’s not
path where I look back and regret it, I think
that’s how it has happened and it feels like a good
moment for me at the moment.

Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures | MoMA EXHIBITION

Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures | MoMA EXHIBITION


How do you tell
others about what you think is worth telling? [SLOW MUSIC] No one was ever given
exact directions. You were turned
loose in a region. And the assignment was,
see what is really there. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What actually is
the human condition? It’s hard to get by. Between Buck Creek
and Whitewater Creek, nobody can make a living. I remember when the
Yankees came through. They, a whole passel of them,
hollered and told the Negroes, “You free.” I don’t know whether that
drought was the devil’s work or the Lord’s work. In three days,
everything wilted. This country is a hard country. They won’t help bury you here. You die, you’re dead— that’s all. This life is
simplicity boiled down. Yessir, we’re starved,
stalled, and stranded. Living a bum’s life sure
makes a bum out of you. I was born and
raised 100% American. It seemed like people
here is crazy— I couldn’t do nothing
if I went back. —about California. They go in droves. Them men that’s doing the
talking for the country is the big landowners. A human being has
a right stand— We can work this land
as good as anybody. —like a tree has
a right to stand. They don’t stop
to shut the door. They just walk out. A picture of me
can’t do no harm. The human face is the
universal language. The same expressions are
readable, understandable all over the world. It’s explosions out of
emotion and passion, all concentrated on just this
part of the human anatomy. One day I was working
here, and it came to me— the deprived and the dislocated. And then the word came to me— rootless, the walking movement. There’s another phrase
that was in my mind— the last ditch, the last ditch. [SOFT MUSIC] [TYPEWRITER CLICKING]

Spheres of Meaning: An Exhibition of Artists’ Books| Art Loft 807 Segment

Spheres of Meaning: An Exhibition of Artists’ Books| Art Loft 807 Segment


As the books’ demise is mourned and discussed,
it seems that more and more people want to make books by hand. Artist books are their own art form, just
like photography, or sculpture, or painting. My name is Amy Galpin, and I’m the Chief Curator
at the Frost Art Museum. I was thinking about books in terms of literature
and how books can function as a portal, as a pathway to new experience, new travels. And I was thinking about this relationship
that could be applied to an artist book. I think an artist book can be a sculpture,
it can have text, it can look completely different than we might think a book should look. Or it can have strong connections, like the
work of Margarita Cano with illuminated manuscripts, medieval manuscripts. I used to go a lot to New York to the Morgan
Library. So I was very familiar with books done with
parchment, and gold, and gild, and all that. I started painting in 1993 just after I retired. The first thing I did was an Adam and Eve
being told that they had to leave Paradise. And the Paradise was Cuba, and the tree, instead
of an apple tree, it was mangoes. I thought it made a statement for people to
think about the sufferings of people who have to leave their country. That accordion books, you know, that you open
up, and then I have these little pieces inside, sort of like the mirrors. So when a person grabs one of my books and
starts opening and looking at it, all these things start falling to the floor and it’s
very irritating, but that’s part of what I wanted to cause. I wanted that to be an effect, because the
Cuban situation is so irritating. As some artists are very much dedicated to
the form, I don’t think that either Carol Todaro or, for example, other artists in the
show like Donna Ruff or Rosemarie Chiarlone consider themselves to be only artist book
makers. But they definitely make many artist books. I really enjoy experimenting with media and
pushing the kind of media I can use with artist books. I think a lot about display when I make a
book, I think about where it will be shown and how it will be seen. So this is a group of six artist books that
work together as an ensemble. And it’s called Villanelle. The pages are made of a translucent material
and the images and words are hand-printed on in a very simple method of transferring
text from an actual laser print. And a villanelle is a type of poetic form. It came from a French song form. Therefore, these books, which are a kind of
analogy to the poetic form, are mounted on music stands. The music stands do two things: they provide
a way for the books to be displayed as sculpture, and they also cue us that music is a part
of the content of the piece. So the words are all fragments of poems. This one begins with the words “as if”. So, when you go down to the side, it says
“forming a galaxy”, and on the other side, “becoming a graveyard”. So I’m going from the cosmos to below the
earth in this one segment of the poem. It’s not really a story but more images and
texts that the viewer is invited to put together and make their own meaning from. I think for, you know, most people think of
Diego as a painter. He’s someone who really interrogates, “What
does a painting mean?” But I was really taken with his elaborate
sketchbooks, these deconstructions of other magazines joined with various drawings. And I thought he brought a really fresh perspective
to the exhibition. For me, the artists books came just as a way
of necessity, of just making. And luckily, I work in a lot of art institutions
and what I decided to do was just incorporate a lot of the materials that was around me. They had a lot of catalogs that they were
always throwing away. I didn’t really think about it as like, any
different than painting. I just needed to make. So during my break time I would be making
it, and even during the time when I was working I would be walking around and if there was
like, an interesting page because of the material I thought it would be interesting, I would
just grab it and put it into these, like, artist books. And yeah, I learned a lot from that. And after I made the book, I felt like I couldn’t
make the same type of art again, what I was making in grad school. It just didn’t make sense for me. I’m always thinking about that sense of awe
that a viewer might have, but then simultaneously, what is the resonance? You know, what does the work mean to them
after they leave the museum?

Easy Cartoon Drawing : How to Draw a 3D Cartoon Picture

Easy Cartoon Drawing : How to Draw a 3D Cartoon Picture


How to draw cartoons in three dimensions.
Now the first thing to remember is you are probably going to make a lot of mistakes in
the beginning so just keep doing it and doing it and you will just get better. That is how
I learned. That is how everybody learned. If you are unsure how something looks three
dimensionally the best way is to actually look at that object for real and copy the
lines you see in room or wherever the object is. But we will start with her is your basic
square. And to make it 3D if this is the front of the square we draw diagonal lines. You
are going to be doing a lot of diagonals to make things look 3D. Take three of the corners
make diagonal lines go off. And then make the parallel lines and there is our 3D square.
You can take any object no matter what it looks like and pick your slant, take a corner
and slant out. Every corner has to have a line slanting out from it and the lines should
be at the same angle of diagonal. Now see this one I can’t slant out cause it would
come into the object. So those corners I am not going to touch. And I make the parallel
lines and there I have a 3D hexagram. Same you could do a triangle. Notice I don’t take that corner. Only the
corners that allow me to move away from the object I will use those lines to draw those.

Gel Image Transfers


In this video we will be transferring an image
using the indirect transfer method using Golden acrylic gel. First we need an image. Got it! Edited your photo to suit your needs and then
print it. Inkjet printer inks can smear when coated
with water based products, so use either a laser printer or photo copier. We’re using
a laser printer for this demo. You can cut your image down to a manageable
size if you want, but leave some extra edging to trim later on. Next coat the image with a thin layer of acrylic
medium to minimize any wrinkling of the paper. Here we’re using GAC 500. Brush this layer
out as thinly as possible, so that the minimum amount of moisture comes in contact with the
paper. Allow this to dry. Next tape the image down to a work surface
to help keep the image flat and in place. Now coat the surface with a layer of Gloss
Acrylic Gel. We will use Soft Gel Gloss for our demo but
any Gloss Gel or medium is an option. Use a large palette knife or spatula to smooth
out a moderately thick layer of gel. Allow this to cure until it has clarified,
usually overnight. You can remove the tape either by peeling
it off, or to reduce any chance of tearing carefully cut around the edge using a sharp
knife. Now it is time to remove the paper backing. Place your transfer face down into either
a shallow tray or sink basin. Saturate the paper surface with water and begin rubbing. As the water saturates the paper it will start
to become pulp. Be patient when rubbing as it takes some effort to remove all of the
paper from the gel surface. Now you can see we have “see through”
transferred image, but it gets even better! Allow this to dry on a non absorbent surface
such glass. Working on the back side of the image we can
add color very loosely and still maintain the detail of the lines. Here we are using some GOLDEN Fluid transparent
red iron oxide and titanium white. Notice how loosely we are brushing on the color. After the paint layer has dried, the transfers
can be incorporated into artwork by gluing them down with soft gel gloss or another medium.

Easy Cartoon Drawing : How to Draw a 3D Cartoon Table

Easy Cartoon Drawing : How to Draw a 3D Cartoon Table


We are going to talk a little bit more about
drawing in 3D with cartooning. Once again I am going to open it up to my room. Here’s
my one wall, my other wall and my floor. Now I am going to draw a table in this room. You
want to remember the wall these three lines you can put at the very end. Cause you might
have things in front of them. And unless you have an eraser it’s going to cross over. So
you might want to draw these three lines a the very end. But I am going to move the table
over here into the middle of the floor so it doesn’t block my walls. So I will start
with the table. Now the table I’m going to have it balanced with the wall. So I am going
to use the same parallel lines. You notice these two are parallel to this. And these
two are parallel to this. Then you will mess up at first and I am not doing it exactly
perfect to scale. But it’s a cartoon so now we are going to. This is the table top. We
will give it some thickness by coming straight down. And these vertical lines you notice
are parallel to this line that shows the up and down in the room. Again parallel lines.
And let’s make the legs. Legs they keep coming down like that. And another parallel
line and down like that. And this it’s going get a little tricky. Your first few legs are
going to look a little bit like one of them is to long. One of them is to short. And so
keep playing with it you will get better. See you notice parallel, parallel, parallel.
That is not parallel fix that right there. Always good to work in pencil when you are
playing around with this stuff or not be afraid to scribble it out if it’s pen. Now notice
this line right here is you can draw a straight line right across there and you can draw a
straight line right across there. That’s how you know my table basically looks likes it
is all four legs are square on the ground.

Corey Rich: Good Enough is Never Good Enough

Corey Rich: Good Enough is Never Good Enough


– Hey everyone, what’s up, it’s Chase. Welcome to the another episode of the “Chase Jarvis Live”
show here on CreativeLive. You know this show,
this is where I sit down with amazing humans and I do
everything I can to unpack their brains with the goal of
helping you live your dreams in career and hobby and in life. My guest today is a world
renowned outdoor adventure sports photographer and
filmmaker and author and we’re here to celebrate,
among many things, our friendship, his illustrious
career, and his new book, “Stories Behind the Images”. My guest today is the
inimitable Mr. Corey Rich. (upbeat music) (crowd applauds) – They love you! – Thanks Chase. – All the way from Tahoe this morning. Thank you for coming. – My pleasure, my pleasure. I love talking, I love telling stories, I love hearing stories. And that was really the
spirit of this book and I, yeah, any opportunity
to talk about the book which really means kind of
paying it forward with stories and lessons and- – Yeah, stories and lessons
and having consumed it there are so many stories
that tug on my heartstrings as a lifelong photographer. You know, we’ve come up at similar times through really similar trajectory. But it’s also so widely applicable. These are lessons about life. Not just adventure sports photography. And so, A, congratulations. – Thank you. – B, on your comment about love
talking and strange stories, we already had a one hour
conversation on the couch before we even started
rolling and we’re like, we’ve got to stop talking and
start the cameras rolling. So we’re happy to be actually live in front of the cameras now. Are we doing and Instagram thing to? What’s up Instagram? If, maybe at some point we’ll interrupt if there are some
questions we will let you chime into the episode. But without further ado,
A, welcome to Seattle, thanks for coming up. – Yeah. You know it’s the first time
I’ve flown up to Seattle, Chase, where it’s actually overcast. (Chase laughs) Because, and I almost
sent out a group text to all of my Seattle
buddies that always claim it’s blue skies every day. Because it kind of, it finally validated that okay, occasionally it is
overcast and raining as the- – Right, it’s the flip of what
everybody else thanks it is. And so we have the control over that. There’s a little switch. – Yeah, I know.
– I knew you were coming in today and I don’t
wanna make it too sweet. But it occasionally is cloudy
in Seattle, this is true. – I do, I do remember,
Chase, and it might be, I don’t know, I have no sense of time. It could’ve been 20 years ago, it could’ve been 25 years ago, but coming up to Seattle- – Wait I’m more than 25 years old? – Well let’s see, if you’re 26. – It’s true. 29 actually, perpetually 29. – You know it’s something that happened in putting this book
together is I realized I have no sense of time and
everything was a few years ago. That’s how I would reference
it, it was a few years ago. But walking into this building
and as we sat on that couch it reminded me, I came
to Seattle and I remember it was a sunny day, it was
like beautiful blue skies and I was staying at a
buddies house on a lake, I don’t remember what the lake is called, and everyone was outside
tanning in the park. – With tinfoil around them. – Yes, yes, literally. And everyone was pale but
they were laying there just getting burned in the sun. – (laughing) Sounds like
Seattle in the summer. – And then we walked into your office. You had a tiny office on this
lake or just off the lake, and I walked into the back
and you had your feet up on the table and maybe we
knew each other’s names, but I remember you had like
a glowing, humming, Red Bull cooler in the back–
– Refrigerator. – Stocked full of Red Bull,
and I just remember in my head thinking, “Oh this guy
has got it going on.” – (laughs) My Red Bull fridge sealed it. – This guy, he is destined for success if he has a fully stocked Red Bull refrigerator in his office. – It might help to orient, like what year do you think that was? Can you try? (Corey blows air out) ‘Cause I remember when I
got that Red Bull fridge and it was- – I mean, when were you in that office. That was, I bet it was 20 years ago. I’m 44 now. – ‘Kay, it was certainly before, it was right around the year 2000. – Okay, so yeah. 18ish years, that makes sense. – It could have been, no
that would’ve been somewhere between ’98 and the middle
of 2000 was when that was. – Okay, so you’re better
with time than I am. – Only because like I
know when that fridge was a piece of furniture because I didn’t have a lot of other furniture. And a funny backstory about that is the person who, I was
the first U.S. photographer to contribute to the Red Bull photo files. And that happened at
Tahoe, I met the Red Bull, a guy named Ulrich Grill – Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Who started the Red Bull Photo Files, there was no media around Red Bull. It was just a beverage that
they had licensed from Thailand and so in that fridge,
what you didn’t know is in addition to these new
cans of Red Bull that started in the late 90s there
was also a couple bottles of the syrupy Thai– – Oh yes, of course. – The original formula. Not to date ourselves, but I
remember there was a person, there was literally a white van, and Red Bull had called me
and said that we’d like to, you know, we’re trying to
seed this product basically, and we’d like to put a fridge in your, and I was like, okay, cool. And once a week there was a white van. – Just rolled up.
– That showed up. – I love it. – And just some guy came in
with a pallet full of Red Bull and filled the thing up and disappeared. – I love it.
– Just bizarre. Okay, but we’re gonna back to that time because that was a time where
you were just figuring it out, I was just figuring it out
and this was action sports before really had any media
stories being told about it. Tell us way back, how you got your start. – Yeah I mean that was
a really special moment. Kinda in the mid to late ’90s I was a kid in college. I had fallen in love with rock climbing. I fell in love with photography kind of in the span of seven days. First rock climbing then photography. I realized my photos were awful. And these two parallel pursuits were born. And I honed the craft. I started working in the newspaper world. And really was learning
the craft of story telling. Kind of, I went down this
traditional photo journalism path. But in every free moment I was out rock climbing
and having adventures. And finally it kind of
got to this breaking point where I realized, wait a
second, I’m taking pictures of stuff that, this isn’t why I fell in love with photography. I was shooting pictures of the mayor and football games and baseball games. And eventually sat down with my boss at the newspaper and I said,
“Can you help me devise a plan, “give me some guidance. “How do I actually photograph the things “that I care most about?” Which is the outdoor adventure world. Climbing in particular. And he hired me. He’d help me devise a plan and he hired me for another six months
and I saved up $3,000 and I went home and I convinced my father that I should take six
months off from college. And my dad was an educator, but that day he drafted
a contract on a napkin that stated clearly I
would return to college after those six months on the road. And I had a Honda Civic and
I took out all the seats except the driver seat. Cut out a piece of plywood
and that’s the advantage to being a shorter guy, you
can sleep in your Honda Civic. And I was just a dirt bag. I drove around the United States for six months
photographing rock climbing. Every day I would pull into a camp ground and introduce myself and ask if I could hang out and shoot pictures. And I came back from that
first six months on the road and edited my pictures down to sort of the best action climbing photographs and the best lifestyle,
and shipped them off to “Climbing Magazine” and
Patagonia, respectively, and much to my surprise,
the next day the phone range and I was, literally
overnight I was in business. Like the phone rang and they
started licensing pictures and you know, I got the first validation that what I was doing out there, kind of applying the skill that I learned at the paper, applying it to
the adventure sports world, was working, like people actually thought it was halfway decent content. And it really feel, that
feels like yesterday. That’s the crazy part.
– Yeah. – Is it really feels, that why
I say I have no sense of time until I look and the mirror.
– Right. – And I realize–
– Who’s the old guy in that window? – Yeah, yeah, who did I, I
just said that to someone. I hadn’t seen someone,
this book tour I’ve met a lot of old friends
and I remember standing in one of the venues and guy comes up and I think, God you look familiar. Shake hands, and in my head I’m thinking, God you look like shit, you look old, and then I realized, oh wait, that’s me! (Chase laughs) Yeah, yeah, wait, we’ve
all aged in this process. But it does feel like yesterday. – Yeah.
– And it’s really, and it’s a little cliche to say, but boy, you know, everything
has fallen into place. – Yeah. – And I don’t wanna say it’s luck, it’s just a whole lot
of hard work and passion and, you know, I always,
I think I smile every day because I’m having a damn
good time along the way. And when I say damn good,
that’s even the challenges. You know when my face is,
when I’m looking into the wind and getting hammered I’m still smiling. – Well let me break something to ya. It wasn’t yesterday. – I know, I know. – And this career arc,
now that you can say this looking backwards, of yours
has just been amazing. And as a long time friend and peer I wanna acknowledge that
you’ve been doing this for so long, such an
established player in the field, and have been able to find success, not just in taking
pictures but in making a lotta videos and films. It’s been super fun to watch. Also in collaborating around CreativeLive, and your recent book, it’s like there, it’s just really fun to watch someone who you know, and I’m
speaking from my perspective, who is a true master at something. So I wanna put a dot
in this thing, mastery. And you told, what I would
say, is a pretty quick story, you pulled the seats outta your car and then six months later
you were earning money. I wanna go back and explore this part. Because there’s a lotta
people who are listening and watching right now for whom the idea of transitioning into
something new is scary as hell. Is loaded with risk. They may not be 22. – Right.
– Or whatever you were when you did that. Maybe they’re 42. So there may be more at risk
than just some college tuition. But regardless if you’re 42
or 22 there is some failure. So take us, failures, fears,
it’s a loaded equation. So take us back and I wanna
explore your mental state around getting your job as
a photographer at the paper, saving up some money, and
then actually taking the step to go out on your own. Which ostensibly was six months but turned into the rest of your life. And very easily could’ve not worked out. So add some color around your emotion and what was going through
your mind at that time. If it really was yesterday there should be no problem in your memory. – You know, and Chase,
I have to be honest, I rarely say this, I’m
still a little concerned someone’s gonna figure
out that I haven’t worked a day in my life. You know there’s still that little fear that someone’s gonna figure
out, wait a second, this guy, well how is this guy
actually making money. – Yeah.
– Doing what he loves. Doing what he loves almost every day. You know I think I’ve always
been my toughest critic. I think that’s really important. I mean you and I were talking about this on the couch and hour ago. That sort of, you know, good
enough is never good enough. – Yeah.
– I mean I think that’s a quality that those people that I admire, those who are successful
in whatever it is they do, whether it’s composing music, or science, or photography or filmmaking,
they are really critical of their own work, and I think
that’s something I learned as a kid, as a gymnast. I think it was just, I don’t
know, beat into me in the gym through just endless, endless
workouts and working hard and understanding what it meant
to hurt but work through it. And I think in the world of photography or in the storytelling world,
you have to be very realistic about at what level are you performing. And we have, every time
you depress that shutter as a photographer, you then
get to look at an image, an you can literally look at it and say, is this mediocre, is
this good, is this great? And it turns out great’s really hard. You know, that was one of the experiences in making this book, that you know, for 30 some odd years
I’ve been a photographer and I’ve got a few great pictures. And it’s hard to even say a few. It takes a lot to make great pictures. – Yeah.
– A lot. Like in a career you make
a few great pictures. Great, good is, you can
consistently make good that means you’re professional. – Yeah.
– Consistently making good is professional. Mediocre photography? That’s real easy. Like I think many folks
can get to that level but we’re striving, and I
learned this really early on, the way that you make
this into a career is you’re ultracritical of what you’re doing and you’re constantly, and
every day, and in every action, you’re striving for great. And great’s not easy.
– No. I mean that’s it. I think, I like to say that
there’s something called the collective subjective, right. Photography’s subjective,
art’s subjective. Music’s subjective. But if you ask 100 people,
“Is this a great song?” And everybody says, “It’s a great song,” it’s a great song. Because it’s subjective. It’s the collective opinion. But you still need to be the first judge of is that word good? Have you pushed yourself hard enough? How would you refine it? Even those great pictures,
even the greatest pictures of my career, I can still
look at them and say, “Oh it would’ve been so much better if.” And I think that’s a
healthy attitude to have. A healthy mental perspective which is, how do you constantly push
yourself to that next level? – Yeah.
– And how are you always critical, and I think I was, that started early in my career. I mean I think in that
first six months on the road I had magazines that I could look at and the guys that I looked
up to, the men and women, the Greg Eppersons, the Beth Walds. And I could look at their pictures and I could look at my slide film, or at least I remembered
what I saw through the lens, and I thought, is it as
good, not as good, or better than what I’m seeing in print? And I think that’s a basic
business philosophy, right? Whether you’re making widgets or you’re making photographs it’s, is your widget just as
good as all the competition or is your widget so much better that it’s gonna compel someone to walk out and stop using their old
widget and buy a new widget. And I don’t know, I’ve always
just lived by that philosophy. And– – It’s so true though, it’s so true. – It’s true, and every now
and again you fall below that, you know I’m always striving
to be, it better be good. Trying to get to great. Every now and again you fumble and it goes to mediocre. And as long as you’re honest with yourself that like, what happened,
and you do this analysis of why did that happen? How do I make sure that
doesn’t happen again? You know, I think that’s
the sustainability part. – Yeah. – Right, it’s sort of your, there’s just this
consciousness of I’m always, you know, you’ve got a north star. It’s what am I aiming,
what am I trying to do? And I also really early on realized, and you know, I’d be curious
if you feel the same way, I think storytelling,
photography, filmmaking, became a priority in my life
and I was willing to skip other things in life, right? You can’t do it all. You can’t, you know as a college student, this is an easy way to explain it, you know I fell in love with
the photography really early. I was a kid, I was 13 years old. And by the time I got to college all I wanted to do was be
outside taking pictures. And well, what did that mean? What’s the compromise? I didn’t go to football
games, and I didn’t, you know, I just wasn’t interested. I wanted to be hanging on a rope in Yosemite waiting for
opportunities that you know, it’s sort of that’s all, it’s all I could, I had blinders on. – Yeah. – I mean to some degree I
think I still have blinders on. There’s a lot of life that
I just (blows raspberry) like block that out because
it’s not that it’s not great for other people.
– Sure. – It’s just–
– It’s not bad or boring or any of those things.
– Yeah. – But yeah.
– Yeah. – I liken it to, well first of all I
agree with your statement as you sort of prefaced it. Second of all, I liken it to sacrifice. Now I was just talkin’
to mutual friend of ours, Chris Burkhart about,
like, the sacrifices. And when I think back, I can say that I, for different periods in my career have not been a good husband. Or not been a good friend. Or not been a good business partner. Or not been a good fill in the blank. Because I’ve been–
– Mm-hmm. So obsessed, like freakishly obsessed with the work that not
enough room for everything. – Right, right. – And I made some very hard choices and I think that whether
you’re thinking about it in terms of mediocre,
good or great buckets that you were using, I
found that I couldn’t do, – Of course.
– you know tap into the occasional greatness
and be consistently good. By consistent I’m talkin’ about like a professional
athlete quality consistent, or a professional
photographer in this case. That it wasn’t possible to
do it the other way around. And for the people who have
told me that it’s possible, I have yet to meet a person
who’s actually done it who’s the person who’s
telling me that it’s possible. To have balance. – Yeah.
– Or you know whatever in order to truly hit
that level of greatness. And that, it’s very, what I’m trying to, just to be really crystal clear, like I’m not advocating that
everyone who picks up a camera should try and be a world
class or world-renowned, or a professional, even, photographer. I think, on the contrary,
there’s a lotta room to be a really good
photographer and love it and have none of the downside and be able to be a good father.
– Sure, sure. – And husband and friend and
business partner, mentor, and blah, blah, blah. But all that being said, long question, what have you sacrificed
in order to make those handful of great pictures and have the career that you’ve had? What have you sacrificed? – You know, I mean a few things. I just had some really close friends over for dinner the other night and, you know, one of my dear friends, I mean I’ve missed a lot of weddings, that’s a great example. Some of my best friends, you know, I have missed their weddings, and it’s, you know, at one level you
can write that off as like ah, you know, that happens. But not when you have a normal, you know when you work
for a Fortune 500 company and you have vacation time and you can schedule your time off, maybe short of being the
CEO, you make weddings. Like that’s it. Like when your friend gets
married you make the wedding. But I was in Pakistan. You know, it’s one of those. And I- – Doing a trip of a lifetime.
– That’s right. – That led to the development and possibility of your career. – Absolutely, that’s right. And I think, but my
friends, I mean the people that I’m really close to also know that. – Yeah.
– Like they understand, we talk about it. They’ve known that from the beginning. You know, I’m 44 now and my
wife is 10 years younger. Kind of by design. And we had a child much, well I have a six-year-old girl now. There’s no way that I was
ready to have that child at 30, or you know in my early
30, couldn’t, impossible. But those are, I think
there’s just a lot of time with friends, a lot of
time with our community, it’s the missing weddings, it’s the, you know, those are real sacrifices. But I don’t look back
and regret any of that. I mean I think it’s, I am who I am. You know I think I’m gonna be, I’m trying to be an incredible dad. What I wanna show my daughter is passion. You know, what does passion look like? And some of that is with her by my side as we do things together, and some of that is from a distance as I’m sitting in a wild place FaceTiming, explaining why I’m doing it. But you know, I think that comes with whatever you care deeply about. You get X amount of time on this planet, you get X amount of time per day. And it’s how do you partition it, how do you dole that out? And I’m very particular about my time. I’m, I don’t wanna say
selfish about my time ’cause I’m very giving with my time, I wanna share, I’m always
trying to help folks, not just family and friends,
but the community as a whole. But I’m very deliberate
about where my time goes. Because it’s, the older you get the more you realize it’s pretty finite. – Yeah. – It’s a pretty finite amount of time. And how much of it goes to the craft, how much of it goes to, I always say that if I weren’t
a photographer/filmmaker, if I weren’t running a
business, I would be a teacher. And the beauty of our career is that within the filmmaking world
and the photography world I think it’s one of our responsibilities is to pay it forward,
to share, to kind of, there’s no secret sauce in this game. – Yeah.
– I learned a long time ago. You know, the secret sauce is just, you work damn hard all the time. – You better love what
you do ’cause your– – That’s it
– About to like grind your nose off.
– Yeah, yeah. That’s right. I don’t know if that’s the
answer that you’re looking for. – No that’s, no I mean just
the concept of weddings and us being able to justify missing your best friend’s
wedding when you’re 20 is, you know, 25 or whatever. And you start to be able
to look back a little bit with a little bit more
time under your back and you’re like wow, that
was kind of a big deal. And I think of the holidays,
the family experiences, the weddings, the births,
the deaths, the funerals. Like I missed– – The holidays are a good one.
– Hundreds. – That didn’t even occur to me. – Yeah, hundreds and hundreds. And I’m not exaggerating there, I missed hundreds of those events. – Yeah.
– And holidays, and time with family. And as you said, not
regretting, but the awareness. – Sure. – Is part of what I’m asking for. I say that not to dissuade anyone who’s thinking of going for it. More to understand that
the people who are, if you aspire to be a Corey Rich, like this concept of being
around for everything I would say is not possible. But that’s were I would
immediately fall back and say, but the goal isn’t to try
and be another Corey Rich, the goal is to be the best you, and if you understand
where your values are and if you can create
a life that’s aligned with those values, then
you’re gonna be just fine whether you wanna be
world class or hobbyist. But to tap into what
you’ve done to be able to make a book like this, the films like you’ve made, is next level. – Well thanks. I think what’s interesting about this idea of sacrifice is along
the way, very rarely, did I consciously feel like,
oh, I’m giving up something that I am sacrificing. – Not really a choice, right? – Yeah, I mean there
was just never a choice. – Yeah.
– I mean there was never a choice. It was a no, I mean when you said holidays I realized, I mean I’d blocked it out. Because I–
– Yeah, it was like– – Yeah, just for 20 years
missed all the holidays. (Chase laughs)
Yeah, 100%. We just, now with a little
girl and I’ve designed me life, I’m designing it slightly different because I wanna be there. I wanna be a dad and she travels with me and my wife and I are really
conscientious of our life. But we just, probably for the first time in 15 or 20 years, went to the big family Thanksgiving gathering in Washington D.C. And you know my cousins
and aunts and uncles. And you know, it still felt
like I remember it as a kid. But I haven’t been, I’ve just been MIA. – 20, 25 years.
– And everyone was shocked. Like, you’re here? And it was, it’s exactly what you said. You know, I don’t remember
ever making the decision to not be there, it’s
just I was never there. – Yeah.
– Because I was doing this. – Yeah it felt like it wasn’t, I think that’s interesting acknowledgment. I can say the same thing. I felt like, I never felt like I, certainly I felt sad. Like, oh, I’m gonna miss your wedding. But it was never like,
hm, should I not do– – Right. – And I don’t wanna
paint it as a dichotomy. I just, I’m trying to help
folks who are listening understand if they wanna
operate at that level. And I think the same is, we’re talking about photography, and in your case, Corey,
action sports photography, but I have yet to find in entrepreneurship or the cello, or the nonprofit world or fill in the blank, anyone
who is truly operating on that level that hasn’t
made insane sacrifices. – You know, I also think
when you talk about the person that wants
to pursue photography, you know, I started when I was a kid. But there’s someone
listening that’s 42 years old and they wanna go down this road. And I think, the other part
that I think is flawed, I oftentimes, I get a lot of email and people asking questions,
and when someone in essence sends me their business plan before they send me
their photos, you know, I’m a firm believer, and it
goes back to the quality, if you have the great content the business side falls into place. It’s I think going at it
back, like the other way. Which is, so here’s my strategy
over the next 24 months and then I’m gonna learn
how to make photos, but here’s how I’m gonna sell them and how I’m gonna get assignments and why are art buyers
not calling me back? I’ve just, I always came
at it from the other side which is I love, I’m like a
guy about the journey, right? To travel, hopefully, is
better than to arrive. I love the journey. I love being in the
experience, on the trip, making the pictures, trying
to make the picture better, you know working hard. It’s fun when I see it
on the magazine cover or the billboard or on television. But I don’t get as much joy at of that. Kind of the final, the final delivery. – Yeah.
– The publication, the airing. That’s not the great joy. The great joy for me
comes out of the process. And I think when people come at it more from the, how do I get jobs, and how do I make money at this, I always like, timeout. Wait that’s, at least
for me that’s never been. That all falls into place
if what you’re doing, and it goes back to that
mediocre, good, great. If what you’re doing is great, everything else falls into line. I mean it really, it just,
I mean assuming you’re not– – But the opportunity for
it to fall in line is there. – That’s right.
– But if you don’t have the work there’s no opportunity. – Zero, that’s right. Well that not true, I
think I’ve met a few people where you scratch your head and you think, damn you are just an amazing entrepreneur. – Yeah. – Your work is awful. It’s pretty rare though.
– Yeah. – That’s the exception to the rule. Usually it’s someone has exceptional work because they’ve worked really hard. Usually they have some raw talent. And you can cultivate talent. I don’t think that’s just
something that you’re born with. Their willingness to
work really, really hard, and they’re a good person. You know those three things.
– Those things combined can make anything, right? – Yeah, yeah. – I don’t know if there are some questions for those folks at home who are listening. We did have Instagram live. All right, I’m going
to repeat that question for the folks at home since
I’ve got a mic and you don’t. When you first started shooting did you start off by getting releases from the climbers you were photographing when you talked about
being at the campground? I mean to me it’s almost
like, to preface the answer, it’s almost like your
business plan before the work question that you just sort of answered. Like you’re already planning
the viability of your images without, yeah don’t even know
if it’s freaking good or not. But– – And this probably a
question coming from someone that’s making great pictures
and now they’re trying to figure out the business side. You know climbing is an
amazing, like any actions sport, any adventure sport, you don’t show up at the tennis courts down
the start in Seattle, and Andre, I guess he’s
out there whacking balls, it just doesn’t happen. The pros play on one field and
the amateurs play on another. And the beauty of adventure sports, they ski on the same hills. They go to the same cliffs. And 20 years ago I figured out
that I would go to Yosemite and 50 yards to the left were the best climbers in the world. They were climbing with
steeper and with fewer holds. And I’ve always been a believer
in you’re just completely transparent about what
you’re trying to do. What I’m trying to do. Which first and foremost
I’m just driven by, you know, I introduce myself and then, do you mind, I love taking pictures. You love rock climbing. Do you mind if I spend time
with you taking pictures. And 99.9% of the time
the answer is absolutely. It’s this perfect marriage
between what I love to do and what they love to do. You know, this is a
long-winded way of saying, no I don’t worry about the model release until I’ve actually done something. You know, it’s really– – Especially early on.
– The model, of course. – If you’re a pro and your goal
is to take pictures at the, first of all, most working
pros, they’re goal is not to like make money working at the local crag. – Right, right. – Right, you’re sort of like, that’s where your honing your skills and then money is made on adventures when a bunch of conditions line up. It’s a route a little more intentional. That being said. – Yeah, I think as a young
person shooting pictures, it starts with make amazing pictures of that climber first,
that you’re gonna wow them. Whether that’s the climber,
the mountain biker, the skier, and then ask
for this model release. It’s really what you alluded to Chase. It’s don’t let the business
side of it get in front of, don’t let it, don’ get
the cart before the horse. – Tail wag the dog. There’s a million of those. Yeah, and I do also, a piece of color if I may, is that I found
that 99% of the images that I was proud of or that
I felt like had viability in the market were just
powerful storytelling images. They were intentionally
made and they weren’t made where I was documenting something. It was a collaboration
where I know at this moment you’re gonna hit this mark and the turn, or this hold, or this element. And sure there’s some
documentarian approach that works occasionally,
but 99 times out of 100 it’s a collaboration.
– Right. – So it’s I’m gonna be here,
I’m focused on this moment, or this hold, or this move,
or this fill in the blank. And where our skills come together is that I’m gonna be there,
I’m gonna nail my part. And as the athlete or climber or whatever, so it’s more collaborative
for the people who are at home going like, how are pro photos made? – Mm-hmm. Yeah, I almost feel like
there’s different phases in my career, and maybe it’s
because it’s so deeply rooted in climbing, definitely
early on for me it was truly, because I didn’t know any different, I just knew what it meant to
be a documentary photographer. A photojournalist in the adventure world. And so for a big chunk of my early career I was really just along for the ride. – Yeah. – And kind of waiting for
these fleeting moments to unfold in front of me. And you know, of course, the athletes totally
knew that I was there, but I think for five or
10 years it was truly kind of mostly found
moments on expeditions. And then this kind of
interesting thing happens, which is then it was in the print world and my photo credit was
appearing everywhere and then the phone starts ringing and it’s the ad agency world calling. And they’re saying,
“We loved this picture, “now can you make it happen on demand?” And I think that’s what you’re describing. You know, the way that
I graduated into the, can you do it in a commercial
capacity or for an ad? It was first I did it sort
of in that documentary authentic way, and then once I knew how to do it authentically,
then I knew how to kind of orchestrate it to happen
on demand on a certain day with a bunch of people
standing behind me telling me what they want or what they don’t like. And so for me, everyone gets to that point in a different way. For me it was coming really from that photojournalism background – Yeah. – You know my two things I understood which was being outside and being dirty and suffering, and photojournalism. And now I think those two skills, oftentimes if I’m hired it’s
not for a super polished image, it’s something that still has a little bit of a gritty, raw feel to it. But, you know, nine times out of 10 now I’m being asked to do it
like, on a Thursday at noon. (both laugh) – And that’s the difference between a pro and an amateur, right?
– Right, right. – Like the pro golfer. Like, I can only hit it straight if it’s not windy and it’s not
rainy and no one is watching, and that doesn’t equal a pro. A pro is like, you can literally create that stuff on demand. – Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. – All right, I wanna go back just a second to that time we met at one of my, that was my first photo studio
that was out of my house. Do you remember the
conversations that we had at all? – Gosh, I don’t. – I’m wondering how they compare to the ones we’re having right now. – Yeah. I think it was more of like a passing. I don’t remember a long conversation. – Just for what it’s worth,
I walked by that this morning ’cause I still live two blocks, different house, but I live
two blocks from that location and it’s right nextdoor to my coffee shop where I go every morning
if I’m in Seattle. – Oh that’s really funny. – So I know the spot super well. I can picture it in my mind. It’s now a restaurant that my
wife and I with another friend but the space is till there
and that’s why I was curious if you remember what we
talked about relative to say, what we’re talking about now. – I mean I think what’s so
fascinating now to look back, you know, kind of look
in the rear view mirror, you know it’s still short
careers, we’re young guys. It’s that there’s an amazing camaraderie amongst professionals in this industry. Whether it’s you and I sitting down, or whether you just talked about Christ. I think there’s just this open door. I think we’re living in the golden age of just free flowing sharing information and I think CreativeLive is
right at the pinnacle of that. It’s that idea of just
sharing and paying it forward. And I love that no matter,
you know, the colleagues that I have, the friends
that I have in this industry, that we can pick up the
telephone and just have deep, sincere, real
conversations about the trials, the tribulations, we
can celebrate together over the phone or in person. – Yup. – And that, I think we’re
lucky that we were born into this industry kind of at the tail end of where folks were a lot
more tight lipped early on. I think there really was
this sort of philosophy when I was maybe younger
that there’s just secrets, and you don’t share those secrets. And now it’s, come on, there’s no secrets. It’s all about how do we
collectively raise the bar. – Yeah. – And you know, I get so
excited when I see a new name. And I see incredible
work that they’re doing. It energizes me. I love seeing new
talented folks out there. You know, men and women
just doing cool stuff. And I wanna believe that it’s because everyone shares these days, I mean that’s part of why
the bar is being raised. – Well speaking of sharing,
I wanna visit your book here. Because, thank you, A, for sharing with me and sending me an advance copy. Signed, no less, right there. But speaking of sharing and stories, your new book here,
stories behind the images, lessons from a life in
adventure photography. This is 30 years in the making, right? – Yeah, it sure is. – It’s like a whole lifetime worth of spending time outdoors and what compelled you to create it? What’s the why behind this book? – You know, I think
from the very first time that I went rock climbing,
I won a pull-up contest, I did 35 pull-ups hen I was 13 years old and one of my junior high school teachers took notice of the short strong kid and invited me to go rock climbing. And my father agreed to let me go, but he sent my older brother. And one morning at five
a.m. he dropped us off in the parking lot and we
loaded into Bob Porter’s truck and my math teacher was
in the passenger seat. And I remember distinctly,
he had a 40-pack of powdered donuts that he opened up and this aroma of powdered
donuts blew through the car. And he had a 7-11 coffee which
also had a distinct smell. And as we zipped out of the parking lot he cracked open a Budweiser. And there was this mix of
Budweiser, 7-11 coffee, and powdered donuts, and
I immediately thought, “God this is just so different than going “on a road trip with mom and dad.” (Chase laughs) This was like, it
already had blown my mind and then we drove for two hours into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Bob and George immediately went into story telling mode. They just did awesome
story after awesome story of adventure, and comedy,
and trials and tribulations. And then we went climbing
and I fell in love with every aspect of the
physical and the mental and the cultural aspects. Just the culture of climbing. And I think on that day I fell in love with the art of storytelling. I realized I was sitting
with two Jedi masters of storytelling, and they didn’t know it. They were two school
teachers who loved climbing. But they had this gift. We got back in the car and
they told more stories. And I think that day,
I didn’t realized it, but I wanted stories of my own. I wanted to learn. I intuitively began to learn
that craft of storytelling. And I can honestly say that today, one of my favorite things to
do is sit around the campfire and listen to stories and tell stories. And that’s really what this book is. I almost, I wrote the book
in a way I envision sitting at a campfire with the readier, with you and I’m sharing these tales
that hopefully are entertaining. Hopefully there’s something educational. Oftentimes they’re
caricatures of amazing people. I mean that’s the greatest
gift I’ve had in my career is to spend time around people who totally inspire me and wow me. With the way they think and the way that they’ve mastered what they do. And oftentimes they’re self deprecating. You know, they’re thee lessons, you know, I kind of put my ego in check when I wrote this book. Because I think that
the mistakes I’ve made are some of the great lessons in the book. But that’s it. It’s really about, I wanted to, I wanted to preserve the
stories first of all. – Mm-hmm. Yeah.
– You know, I’ve found these are a lot of the
stories that I tell. They’re 56 of the stories that I tell, you know, sitting around the campfire. The hardest part about this book was which 50 some odd stories of the now, the greater part of my life of stories, what do you tell? And which ones are meaningful? – Yeah. – You know, this is definitely
not a traditional photo book. That one of the things I
wanna be really clear on from the outsider
perspective, this is a book about photography, but to me it’s a story, it’s a book about being a creator
and creating these moments and creating these stories. – Yeah.
– And with intention and then capturing and then
being able to craft them and it’s about life. This like the Trojan horse of this book is not the photography aspect,
it’s the other way around. It’s the life lessons and the
humanity and the connection. That’s why it’s just, it’s
so universal it feels like. But it’s living life through your lens. – I was pretty adamant that
this was a book that you read and then you look at the pictures, because the stories
are about the pictures. But I was pretty adamant
that it shouldn’t be a hardcover oversized book. And I’m a guy that, I’m a
connoisseur of photo books. You know we have shelves of photo books. But I can honestly say I’m
not sure I’ve ever read a hardcover photo book cover to cover. – Yeah.
– It’s just not designed for that, it’s designed to sit on your coffee table.
– Yup. And this book, I wanted it to be small and I wanted it to be something that if someone’s going backpacking
they could tear it in half and bring a few chapters into the woods. I keep on waiting to show
up at someone’s house and see it on the back of the toilet. Because that’s, you know it’s designed to actually be consumed. – Yeah. – And it also, you don’t
need to read it in order. I mean these chapters, really
you could pick it up anywhere. Jump to the middle of the
book and it doesn’t have to be chronological the way that you, you know, you don’t read it start to finish. But that was really
the spirit of the book. I wanted it to be lessons that folks could, that last forever. And I also was very conscientious of, these stories, I wanted to preserve them while they still are meaningful to me. I don’t want this to
come off the wrong way, but if tomorrow I got hit by a bus I wanted my daughter to
have a really good sense of who her dad was. And I’m not planning to get hit by a bus or fall off a rope, or get
buried in an avalanche, but there is, there has been
this reality in my world of, I used to say when people would ask, “Is what you do dangerous?” And always my go to answer, Chase, was “Ah you know, driving to work in Seattle, “commuting in traffic
is far more dangerous “than what I do.” but now 30 years later I
don’t know anyone that’s died commuting to work.
– Yeah. – I don’t know anyone that’s died but I can’t count all the friends that I’ve lost on my fingers and toes. An so there’s that, that was
the other small motivation behind this was preserve these stories. And one day, you know, my
daughter’s barely interested in the book right now, but
she loves storytelling. Because I think it’s so
much a part of our home. When friends come over
we sit around our fire which is really the island in our kitchen and we tell stories and
Leila’s totally embraced this idea of communicating
and she’s even learning at six years old how to tee up a story where you describe some
detail and then you set up so there’s some mystery
around what’s going to happen and then you get to the punch line. And I realized that’s what this is about. I want her to have that gift. – We talked earlier about sacrifice. And you’ve already said that
some of the stories made it in the book and some didn’t. Did you have a criteria
on which to decide? Or was it pure intuition, this is a go and this is a no go. – Yeah, well maybe it’s
worth describing the process for making this book. It was, I think I’m a solid photographer. I’ve made a couple, we talked about that, made a few great pictures in my life, a lot of good pictures. I think I’m a pretty good storyteller. I think I love storytelling
as much I do photography but I’m not a great writer. Like writing is painful for me. I can do it, but it really hurts. (Chase laughs)
And you know, we talked about this in writing your book. – Yeah, whew. – And so I really, in
putting this book together, the way that it would start
is I find I’m most creative when I’m actually moving. You know I can sit at a
desk and I can force myself to do something, but
I enter the flow state when my heart’s beating
at 150 beats per second, some sweats dripping in my eye and there’s sort of endorphins. And most of this book
was written while walking or riding a bike and
I would ride up a hill for an hour or two and the
first ride was just thinking, I had a couple pictures in my head and I would think through,
what is the story? What would the message be? What would I actually
write in this chapter? And I’d, I think photographers,
many photographers have this gift, we can see
things, we can visually, I can tee up lots of visuals in my head and remember those little details. And I’d go through a checklist oftentimes of nah, that photo doesn’t really work because the story’s not strong enough. And I’d be writing each
one of them in my head. And then I would finally
after a few bike rides or hikes, I would hone in
on, you this is an image, this is a worthy image. And you know, the iPhone
has changed our world. I’m taking notes just in the notes app. And then I would spend
another ride thinking about what would the lesson be,
how would I tell this story. And then eventually, whether
it was riding up a hill or sitting on a plane or
sitting in a hotel bar I would just do a voice
memo into the phone as though I’m sitting at a fire. I would tell my five or ten
or 15 or 20 minute story into my phone and then
that would get transcribed. And then I worked with
an incredible writer, Andrew Bisharat, and
we as a team would take that 20 minute transcription
and cut it down and cut it down, and Andrew would add some of his wordsmithing and oftentimes we’d go through a few revisions. But it started as doing blog posts. I mean over five years ago. It was probably inspired by your blog. I mean you were like the
guy that showed us all how to create a photography blog. And I started writing essays and 70 some odd essays later realized, dang I think we’ve got a book here. – I found so much joy in
all of the little moments. I remember seeing pictures in your book, the first time I saw them say, in a Patagonia catalog.
– Mm-hmm. – Or there’s a guy named Justin Bastien. – Right, right. – And I ended up meeting
Justin through doing my iPhone book, he randomly wrote me, he’s, “I’m a developer in silicon valley “and then I’m like,
only years later piecing all this stuff together,
like wait a minute, Justin who introduced me to Catarina Fake who started flickr who
is in this photograph of Cory’s that was in the, it
was in the Patagonia catalog that I saw in 2004 or whatever. It was very nostalgic for me. And perhaps I think on the
obvious superficial answer might be able to say because
we were in the same industry and pursuing a similar path,
but go back to that point that I mentioned earlier about, like there’s just a
universality to this material about adventure, whether
you’re climbing El Cap or you’re trying to figure out what school to get your kid into, or you’ve
decided to change careers. There is adventure in all of those things. And that’s part of what
I can say indisputably that I love about the book
is there’s this fabric and I think it’s you as a storyteller. So do you feel like that
method that you used, this combination of
visualization and transcription, would you have changed
anything in making the book? – No, I don’t think I know of any– – You said it was joyful earlier. – Yeah.
– Which to me was amazing. Like writing my book was not joyful. It was joyful, there were moments of joy, but a lot of pain. – You know, this might be,
I hadn’t thought about this until you just asked the question. This might be the only thing in my life that I actually did slowly
and methodically over time in bite-sized pieces,
like I was never the guy– – Congratulations like, on achieving– – I mean the funny thing is
I think it was by mistake. I wish I can say that was intentionally. Because I’ve always
been the guy that waited until the 11th hour to cram for an exam. In fact once I did a TEDx talk and I don’t know why in my head, I just convinced myself
everybody must wait until like a few days before and then they put talk together. And this is just to kind of illustrate how I’m always that guy that
does it at the last minute except for this book, and I
remember sitting in my basement, my office was still in my house and one morning I got up and
the TEDx talk is a couple of days out and I called
one of my dear friends, Tommy Caldwell, a rock climber
and Tommy had just done a big TEDx talk in D.C. And I called, I think
I planned to call Tommy just to get validation that yeah, I’m doing it just like everyone else. You wait until the 11th
our and then you just cram. – Pull some slides together.
– Yeah, yeah, you go deep. You just dig deep and just make it happen. And you know it’s six in the morning and I called Tommy, I
say, “Hey can I just, “so how did you prepare
for that TEDx talk? “I mean, what did you do, tell me.” And he said, “When’s your talk?” And I said, “Oh, it’s on Saturday.” He said, “This Saturday?” I said, yeah, yeah, this Saturday. And he said, “Oh dude,” he said, “Oh man, “I’ve never prepared
for anything in my life “more than that TEDx talk.” He said, “I hired a
coach, I like,” and then he went through this
process of rounds of writing and then he would go for
hikes in the woods with– – This is a guy who climbed
never-before-climbed routes on the dawn wall. – Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
(Chase laughs) And of course in that moment, sort of my heart stopped and I realized, Okay I have to drop everything
that I’m doing right now. Like I stopped picking up the phone. Like I had to put a talk together. And for the next 72 hours I just worked on putting that talk together. But that’s my standard MO. – Yeah. – That’s my, even though
I don’t like to admit it. – Yeah. – This was like the exception to the rule. Where slow, like I
trickled these stories out. And enjoyed, there was
almost a lesson in this that now I’m realizing. I should do more things like that in life. I should do more things
that are actually just like every day and slowly that
kind of accumulate over time. That’s my take away from this talk. – Awesome.
– That I need to do. I need to do more of the
slow trickle accumulation over time and getting maximum
joy out of the experience. – Well congratulations on the book. It’s really stunning and I
had a couple of questions if we can on a couple
of different stories. So why did you start with, I don’t know what
the actual title is, not the Preface, the “Doing
What You Love” is chapter one. And I think a lot of people
listening and watching understand superficially the value of doing what you love. Because as you mentioned earlier at one point during our conversations that it was kind of cliche
to say this or think this. Clearly if you’re gonna start a book that you’ve been working 30
years to tell and the title of the first chapter is
“Doing What You Love”, there’s something more
there than superficial. – Yeah. I mean to me it’s still just
the pillar of my career. If there’s one thing,
it’s not just the pillar of my career, I think it’s who I am. It all comes down to passion, right. It all comes down to, you
can’t put as much time and energy into something
as we do into photography or filmmaking or whatever
it is you’re doing unless your really, really deeply love it and are passionate about it. And I thinking that first chapter is about taking six months off from college. And I probably tell the story
of convincing my parents to take a semester off. – And the seats out of your car. – Yeah, the seats.
– It’s classic, that’s the, I remember the first time you told me before the book and
before the conversation, I think even before
your CreativeLive class you told me that story and I
thought I was really moving. – But that’s born out of passion, right. – Yeah.
– I mean that’s born out of doing what you love. And that picture of Kevin
Gallagher ascending a rope over the northern Mexico desert. You know, that was the
byproduct of going out and doing what you love for six months with zero plan for was this
gonna turn into a career, could I ever pay for the
100 rolls of film that shot. It was just born sheerly out of, you know I talk about,
I still have blinders that are like this. I think then I had blinders
that were like this. You know, all I could see
was this just narrow field of view, but that field
of view was being outside, having adventures, being around
people that were amazing, and trying to make really
compelling pictures. And those are sort of the
tenants of my life and career that they kind of
haven’t changed actually. – I was just gonna say, have they changed? – I mean it’s still, you
know I’ve spend less time hanging on ropes today. And I think my, as I’ve grown up I’ve also had this
realization, you know I talked about having a daughter and I realized I don’t wanna always be taking risks. You know I really love being alive and I want to have a sustainable career and lifestyle, I wanted to buy a house. And I realized that
there was a part of brain that I also, I like running a business, I like those, I just like challenge. I guess is the–
– Yeah. – So my world looks a
little different now. I’m a business partner
in production company and we have 15 full-time
employees and we work with contractors all over the globe and not everything that we
shoot is adventure sports. – Mm-hmm. – But I always say that
everything that I learned shooting adventure sports,
like look if you can do it hanging off a rope 2,000
feet off the ground I can definitely do it
with my feet on concrete with lots of people talking into my ears. – And a coffee cup and
your name on your chair. – Absolutely, absolutely, yeah absolutely. In fact then I get, in the adventure world you spend so much time and energy just physically getting there
and you’re managing risk and you know the
psychology of the athletes and then you switch gears
into, okay, I’m finally in this spot, now I’m gonna
look through this rectangle and be creative and it’s like
you’re shifting constantly from creative to safety to
athleticism to get yourself there but those are the greatest lessons. Like learning it, I’m so
thankful that I learned the craft in the adventure world and now in the kind of
commercial advertising world you’re still shifting gears but it’s a different
style of shifting gears. It’s not, is this serac going to crush me or is the rope getting frayed on an edge. It’s, okay, that client
over there really wants me to try something else, but
I need to get this shot, let’s get him another
latte while I humor him and then I’m gonna tell some stories and them I’m gonna–
– Yeah. And so it’s, I mean
it’s all just challenge. And I guess that’s what I love. It’s the, I love the process of making a great final product. That’s I think where I get all the joy. – I’m gonna let you
choose, I have two stories that I wanna touch on, one
is, I’ll just go there first because I’m choosing to. And you talk a little bit about shooting Alex on, free soloing. – Ah right.
– And I mention this in part because it’s relatable because of the success Free Solo, you know our mutual friends made the film. Jimmy, Jen, one of the
co-directors with his wife Chai. You were photographing those
same places and moments with the same people and
because it’s relatable to anyone you don’t have to be an
action supports photographer or lover because the film has
seen such widespread success. But earlier you talked
about losing friends and you can’t count them
on fingers and toes. What’s it like in that moment? You do a nice job of talking
about it in the book, but share it with us here. – You know, I mean Alex– – What is a guy doing without ropes. Your mind takes a second to recognize that your just like
something is wrong here. Very, very, wrong – I mean Alex is a, I mean
I think I can say this about many of the people in this book. Everyone in this book actually. They’re all extraordinary human beings. I mean in their own right. And I think that’s one of the
gifts of being a photographer is that we, that camera
is the golden ticket. It lets us into their lives. We get a backstage pass to life which is pretty extraordinary. I mean literally we can open any door. We photographer storytellers
with that camera. And Alex is one of those,
he is the one in 10 billion. You know, Alex is one of smartest guys that you will ever meet. You know he’s rely intelligent. He’s also an incredible athlete. – Yeah. – You know we–
– Physically so gifted. – I mean he’s a specimen. – Yeah.
– I mean he’s a specimen. But he’s a specimen in kind
of two different realms. He has a brain, he has the mental aptitude and capacity to process the world in a way that literally nobody else can. The way that he has mental control that no one else has. But he also, we view Alex,
most folks, as they should, they know Alex as like the
boldest climber of all time climbing El Capitan without a rope But it’s when you see
those gifts together, the mental capacity with
the physical capacity is really remarkable. Alex was, this past summer he came to town and a couple of us went
for a mountain bike ride. And Alex is not a mountain bike ride, you know I ride a lot. I’m not a great mountain bike rider but I love riding for the exercise and what it does to my brain and kind of getting into that flow state. I’m the most creative. And Alex, you know he was riding
like a heavy mountain bike and it’s my dear friend
Chris McNamara and Alex and then my buddy Chad and
the four of us are out there. And Alex, you know, by climbing standards, Alex is a 5.9 mountain biker. That’s kind of a–
– Sure (laughs). – You know he’s a kind of, I don’t even wanna say
intermediate mountain biker, he’s like a beginner mountain biker. And we take him on
probably like a bigger ride than we should, but he’s an animal. Like we know that aerobically
he can handle this. And it was fascinating to watch Alex. Chad was the slowest in
the group and I was kind of between Chad and Alex. And Chris was leading the way. And so for an hour plus I could watch Alex sort of figure out how to ride this kind of technical Tahoe granite terrain and 30 minutes in he was walking his bike and kind of falling over
and getting back on. And then finally he blurts out to me, he says, “I kinda get it now. “It’s kinda like on-siting
a boulder problem. “You have to like look at the holds, “but now I’m looking at the terrain “and then I just have to on-site it. “I’m calc,” and then he did it. Like he just for the rest of the ride he went from lik 5.9 to 5.12 in the span of like 30 minutes because he had that mental capacity to sort of analyze the situation, to physically take control of the bike and he could send, they were connected. – The message of his brain with his body. – Yeah, and he could execute. Because he’s one of the most highly tuned athletes on the planet. But it doesn’t change, to
your original question, watching Alex without a rope, it’s hard. Because you’re watching a friend. I mean you sort of, even though Alex will tell you and I’ve interviewed Alex on this topic. It’s about free soloing and being close to the edge and death. And he will at the end of the interview you will feel like, well this guy, I mean he’ll never fall. Because he is so confident
and so calculated. But there’s always the possibility. And it is, I’ve always, I
haven’t worked with Alex as much as Jimmy and
Chai did for the film. But those times that I’ve
shot Alex without a rope I always have that conversation up front. ‘Cause I just feel like I have to, which is, “Never, ever do something “because I’m asking you to.” And Alex has always had that confidence and sort of that sensibility to back down when he doesn’t feel it. And I think you saw that
in Jimmy and Chai’s film. – Yeah. That he backed down several times and– – From different aspects– – Absolutely, yeah, I mean we did a shoot that’s in the book years ago. It was for a Nikon camera launch. And Alex was one of the characters. And it was really impressive. We shot him free soloing
a root in Joshua Tree. We probably shot it three times on day one and on day two it was a little hot. He did it one time,
started up the second time and he was kind of like,
sweaty, and that’s it. He backed down and he
said I think I’m done. And it was huge relief at some level. – Yeah. – I mean it was sort of,
gah, okay, God we’re done. It’s over.
– Yeah. ‘Cause it’s painful to be
you and I in those moments. For sure.
– Yeah. Yeah, that’s, but it’s also,
if anyone really has processed the kind of the upside and the downside and sort of, it’s Alex. You know, maybe no other
free soloist in history has really kind of
processed what they’re doing at the level, and internalized
it, and rationalized it and thought, given it the level of intellect that Alex has. And it doesn’t mean when someone falls, it’s still the same consequence. – Yeah. – But yeah, it is pretty tough. I can say this as one of Alex’s friends, and I think many friends would say we all hope that that was the grand achievement in free soloing. I think it’s one of the greatest sports feats of all time. – Yeah, for sure. – And I don’t know, maybe that’s the last of the big free solos. It would be great if it were. – (laughs) I’m kinda thinkin’
for everybody’s sanity. – Yeah, yeah. – Tell me one story, this is
when I was trying to decide where to go, I was curious about how you’d answer that last one, but now since this is about stories, a story you didn’t tell that’s in the book that you can share with us. – Mm, that’s a really good one. – Because there’s certainly a lot of them on the cutting room floor or
on the bike ride somewhere that you decided to chuck. – Sure, sure. – And if it was because you
had an image without the story or was there a story without an image. – I think there’s even, in
any one of these chapters, I don’t know how many
words each chapter is but let’s call it 1,000 words, still a lot hits the cutting room floor. The beauty of sitting
around a campfire is that you can tell long stories.
– Yeah (laughs). – You can add lots of color and texture. And I was just reminded,
like I was giving a talk a couple weeks ago and
one of my dear friends, Todd Offenbacher stands up,
and he’s a Tahoe legend, kind of one of the most
passionate people about life and being outside, and Todd
stood up to introduce me before I gave my book talk and he reminded me, he was
part of one of the stories. We went to the Arregetch Peaks
in Alaska to do a new route with Tommy Caldwell and Hayden Kennedy and a great group of guys,
Tommy Thompson and Dane Henry and we were doing it for Discovery Channel so we were the subjects of the show. It was a show called “Flying Wild Alaska” about bush pilots in Alaska. And so the film crew followed us up until the bush plane dropped us
off and then we skied in, you know 20 miles into
these, maybe as remote as you can get in Alaska
during the winter. It was minus 20 and it was–
– Brutal. – Crazy, really wild real adventure. And there’s grizzly bears
all over and so we brought, I was reminded, Todd
introduced me and he told this funny piece of the
story that never made it into the book, but we
brought for our protection, we brought this giant
handgun and we brought 50 rds of ammunition, but
everything was human powered so once we got dropped
off we were towing sleds and we had these heavy sleds. And the last night that
we were in our base camp we had to skin out another
20 miles with heavy sleds and so anything that was extra
weight, we wanted to lose it. And so a lot of whiskey got consumed. – ‘Cause you didn’t wanna carry it out. – Yeah, we didn’t wanna carry it out. That’s right, we didn’t
even wanna carry it out. And so we had 50 rounds of ammo. And we saw bear tracks but
we never were confronted by a bear and so we decided after a little whiskey was consumed that we could definitely
shoot 44 of the rounds and have six remaining in the gun. And so for an hour or so we
stood in this remote campground, started this trying to hit stuff and then we’re shooting behind our heads and we shoot 44 rounds of ammo
because it’s pretty heavy. You know.
– Yeah. – That’s our rationale. And the next morning, and
we’re feeling pretty good about our decision, a little
hungover the next morning, and we start skinning out and it’s gonna hurt no matter
what, like when you skin 20 plus miles–
– Yeah that far, oof. It’s pulling sleds, it’s brutal. And we’re skinning out and
we’re eight ours into our day. And everyone has their head down, you know it huts everyone the same amount. Everyone’s fit. And Tommy Caldwell is up ahead of us, he’s leading the group
and the guy in front is working the hardest because
they’re putting in the track and Tommy’s an animal, he’s in beat mode as he’s doing this. And all the sudden we hear
like, he screams like a girl, you know this shriek like
“aah”, and we see him unclip from his sled and he’s
kind of far enough out that we don’t know what’s
happening and he comes skinning back to us really fast and he says, “There’s a huge grizzly bear!” And we’re in this narrow
slot canyon, you know, we have to get out because there’s gonna be a plane the next day. And all of the sudden, this
idea of shooting 44 rounds, you know we’re looking for this pistol and all of a sudden
(Chase laughs) you know, we have this huge revolver. And you also realize like what do you do with this revolver now? You know you have like your ski pants and it’s like tucked in
but falling down your leg and all of the sudden we get
as close as we possibly can and Todd is the, he’s
like our, he’s the guy that actually knows
how to operate a pistol in our group, the rest of us are clueless. And all of the sudden we just
wanna be right next to Todd. It’s sort of anyone falling behind, I remember Hayden Kennedy’s
skin was falling off one of his skis and he screamed,
“Wait for me you guys!” – Hopping on one leg.
– He’s shuffling. (both laugh) And we skied up to where
Tommy left his sled and a grizzly bear had
literally just killed, I believe it’s a caribou. Had killed a caribou and had
panicked when Tommy skied up. And so the bear had mostly
covered the caribou with snow. But was clearly in the bushes some place. And it was, now it’s
getting late in the day. And it was the most terrifying ski out. Because we have this six rounds of ammo, five or six of us in a line, and we just skied past this fresh kill.
– A carcass, yeah. – Yeah and so, I don’t know
why that story comes to mind. Because there’s a great essay in the book about that trip and about Hayden Kennedy and what an incredible person he is and like lessons learned on the wall. But that’s the beauty of adventure. Really adventure where
the outcome’s uncertain is that there’s layers to stories. And I think that’s what
I get so much joy out of is long form story telling. You can tell the bullet story,
you can tell the bear story, you can tell the, and the
story that’s in the book. – Well it was truly remarkable. I also wanna say thank you so much for page two, six, nine, chapter 54. A little shout out to
your experiences here at CreativeLive, thanks
so much for including us in your magically crafted book, so I appreciate that. And for the folks who
pick it up, read that, but think you very much for that man, that was a great nod. – No I meant it. I mean I think what you’ve
done with CreativeLive is really special and I really took pride in writing that chapter because I, in the most complimentary way,
and for those of you at home that read that chapter, I think it’s a pretty accurate
description of this guy that’s sitting next to me who’s a genius and who is passionate. And I hope it makes you laugh actually. I hope so. – It does. And you’ve done some really magical stuff with CreativeLive, a couple of classes, one with Red Bull where
we were live streaming some of the world’s best action sports, or snowboarders, and
you’re photographing them on the summit of Northstar. Live on the internet.
– Right. – And that was like five years
ago or something like that. That was crazy. You’ve made so many great, you’ve taught so many great
lessons on CreativeLive in your mainstay, in the hallway here I mentioned that you were
coming today for this and people started scurrying
around and cleaning the place like is it gonna be good enough for Corey? We gotta make sure he’s happy here but just thank you so much
for sayin’ kind things. And yeah, a ton of respect
for you and your work. And this book is a huge, huge win. So many stories, not
just about photography, but about life and about being a creator and you just have this
really, it’s so consumable. It really is so relatable. And for that you have accomplished that 99.99% of books don’t accomplish. – Well thanks Chase, I appreciate it. – Shout out. And then as a sort of closing here I wanted to ask you, with everything that you’ve accomplished,
you’ve hinted in this, in our conversation
today about diversifying. You talked about wanting do things where you weren’t risking
your life and still wanting to push the boundaries because that’s part of your personality. You talked about expanding your footprint with your production company. What part of this are you doing for growth in and of itself? I think so many people,
they just get on a path and that’s what they do. But there’s this insatiable
sort of hunger for exploration and new horizons, and you just said, like it’s only an adventure if you truly don’t know the outcome. And none of us know the
outcome of our lives. But what is next for you as
you expand your footprint? Is it more books? Are you gonna teach more? Because you basically have this, one of the many things I admire about you, you’ve mastered still photography, you’ve mastered storytelling, you’ve mastered making short films. Now clearly you’ve
mastered capturing stories in the form of a book Your new company is doing well. 15 employees, like you can
go a hundred directions. How do you decide what to do. So many people wanna follow you and they also wanna take a cue because they’re at a
crossroads in their life. How in the hell, what would Corey do? WWCD? – Yeah, I mean, that’s, I can’t take credit for that line. You know, adventure is where
the outcome’s uncertain. I had a mentor, one of the
great climbing pioneers, Tom Frost, Tom was the
co-founder of Patagonia with Yvon Chouinard and– – He’s got your blurb
on the back of the book. – Yeah, and Tom is no longer with us. Tom is passed away late in his life. But he was a genius. I mean he was really
a gifted photographer, but also a pioneer and an entrepreneur. And that’s always stuck
with me, that line from Tom that adventure’s where
the outcomes uncertain. And I guess that’s something
where I’m the least creative and when I’m the least happy is when it feels like Groundhog Day. – Yeah. – You know and I’ve done it and I’m doing it again
and it’s repetition. I’ve learned that about
myself that I just need, I need fresh experiences. Because I’m the best version of myself when they’re fresh experiences. If I’m getting pushed
and I’m having to learn and I’m sort of, I don’t have
the answer at the outset, at the onset, that’s
kind of the key for me. And so what’s next? I know what it won’t be. It won’t be something
that I’ve already done. It will be trying to, I
think I’m pretty excited about doing more feature style doc work. But I’m also a realist in
that I know I can’t drop everything else that I’m doing
and focus wholeheartedly– – But do you love pain? Because doing things
for the first time is, I love doing things for
the second and third times. Fourth and fifth starts to get tired. First super painful, it’s like–
– Yeah. – It’s like how we’ll
kinda break in trail. – Yeah that’s a good, you
know I’ve never thought about it that way. You know, I guess I think you’re right. It’s probably the sweet spot. It’s like three our four times in. The first time hurts. – Yeah. – This was an anomaly. – It was–
– having the joy in creating the book?
– Yeah the joy. I did the book 20 years
ago and it was painful. It was really painful. So maybe I should own that.
(Chase laughs) That was really painful 20 years ago and I learned a ton. So yeah, I think I do like the
pain of the first experience. – Yeah.
– Because it’s just, you’re so alive in that experience. The second time you’re smarter. The third time you’ve kinda got it down and now it’s about excellence. I always say that’s why we
get hired as professionals. It’s not, I man I’m conscious
of this all the time. I can point at a hundred
photographers and filmmakers that are way more gifted than me. I just see their raw talent oozing out. But that’s only one part
of why you get hired. You get hired also because we’ve made all of the mistakes and they’re hiring you to not make mistake. And so yeah, I think the
answer to the question is I just love doing stuff that’s new. And I think you might’ve
identified something. I should pay you for some therapy. – That’s right.
– I think I do like suffering a little bit.
– Yeah. – I think I really like the
misery of the first experience. And once it’s too comfortable I need to find some new misery or new suffering. – But that’s about testing yourself. That’s like the passion of
engaging all of your skills. And explorers, they have that. I think of Mike Horn crossing
the Arctic in winter. Like bro, you’ve got it good,
you’re sponsored by Mercedes. – Right. – Like he could probably just tool around the South China Sea as have
with you on your sailboat in the name of adventure and
find a way to get plastic out of the ocean and, but 70
days in the dark 40 below. – Right. – Really? Is that like you’re choosing to do that? To lose the tip of your nose
and half of your fingers and? – I mean the more we do this stuff the more you do what you love, the more it takes to surprise you. I mean I like being surprised. That’s part of it. It’s sort of, you know
just, I love the unknown. And I’m just gonna bring it back to photography for a second. I love when I go on a job and
something doesn’t go right or as planned and you have
to adapt and it’s sort of, that’s like my favorite thing in the world is sort of the spontaneity
and the adapting and it’s pressure, but performing under that pressure is really fun. And I think that’s why,
kind of intuitively I’m always looking for that next thing. Because it forces, it just forces me into the best version of me. – Yeah, there’s something
that’s coming to mind as you say that, is the lens that I’ve learned to live through is it’s not about avoiding mistakes. If you can comfortable, like
my wife will lose her mind if I’m gonna speak in front
of 10 or 15,000 people. She’s backstage with me like, I’ve got noise canceling headphones on, I’m literally dancing back
there, bobbin’ and weavin’ and she’s pasty white
staring at the backside of that curtain just
going like, oh my gosh. And there’s a belief,
and I don’t always know, I’m nervous, but it’s
the belief that you can, it’s not about avoiding mistakes, it’s about recovering from errors. – Right. – And that, like what can you rely on in a previous experience where when this happened you did this. Where whether it’s the bear
or the climbing incident or managing the client. I wonder if that
resonates with you at all. Like this ability to trust yourself. – I feel like a version of that has come out of this book tour. I’ve always enjoyed sharing and teaching it’s why I’ve been involved
with creative live. And in a book tour you
have good book tour stops and you have bad book tour stops. And maybe the greatest
gift us this book tour was like the bad book tour stop. Because it was really uncomfortable. It was really uncomfortable and I bombed and I got nervous, and that’s unlike me. Like I’m comfortable speaking. But I walked way from, it
was in Boulder, Colorado. It was like the publisher warned me. They said, “Don’t commit
to doing bookstores.” That was their number, they
said bookstores are like, they’re just tough, like
bookstores are tough. But I was dead set on
let’s fill this one day in the middle of the calendar because I was already
traveling and I knew as soon as I walked into this bookstore, you know everyone’s heart
was in the right place but I walked in and I
realized they want an author. There was a wooden chair
like a rocking chair, the classic wooden chair. – (laughs) Oh my God! – And it was up on the stage. And I said, “Oh, but
I’m gonna show pictures, like I’m gonna to talk to pictures.” And they said, “Oh no
problem, we have a screen.” And out came a screen that was
twice the size of this table. You know it was sort of– – (laughs) This is like
an episode of the office what’s happening here. – Oh, and the projector wasn’t working. But 150 people showed up, or 100 people. And I got so nervous that
I’m like, this is just, it’s a recipe for failure right now. Like it’s, these folks
want me to sit in a chair and read chapters out of my book with a pipe in my mouth. And I’m ready to stand up and show slides and entertain people. And you know I was telling my stories, it was still early in the book tour and I was still kind of
getting my story down and then partway through the
talk, the woman in the back is saying wrap it up
and I’m thinking like– – I’m just gettin’ started! – Like I’m just getting
started, right, yeah, didn’t you get the memo,
this is gonna be an hour. And I wrapped it up early and I remember I’m just sweating and feeling awkard. But the great lesson was I realized no, I just own it. Moving forward that was the low point. But the lesson was no, I
know what I’m talking about. It doesn’t matter how big the screen is. I don’t even need the pictures. I can stand there and tell stories. It’s me and the people
sitting in this audience and I’m here to tell stories, they’re here to listen to stories. The other thing I learned is it helps if everyone has alcohol.
(Chase laughs) The bookstore didn’t have alcohol and I realized–
– Steak night. – That might have been
Seattle REI the next night. And that was like the opposite. It was a packed venue and
people were psyched and– – I remember I was so bummed
I was out of town for it. I knew you were gonna crush it. – And it was, but you know
it was just that lesson in, but you’ve gotta fail occasionally. Like you’ve gotta kind of bomb it. And I don’t know in the
eyes of the folks sitting in that audience, it
probably wasn’t a bomb. It was just sort of lackluster
what I did up there. But that’s kind of why I crave, people crave doing new things is you kinda wanna get as close to that edge so that occasionally you bomb and then– – Keeps you straight. – Yeah and then you have
that experience, right? It’s like okay, that won’t happen again. I was just sitting on a plane, Chase, you’ll appreciate this, I
was flying home to Reno. And flying into Reno usually
I have one connection from L.A. or San Francisco. And the guy sitting next to me was, he works for one of these
huge event planning companies where you know, when they
wanna get together 100 CEOs they’re the company that
builds out these events. And they’ve put ’em, and you know we got to talking in the last 20 minutes of the flight and I said, “So you must bring in “pretty amazing presenters.” We got on the presenter,
motivational speaker talk. And they’re hiring the
biggest players in the world. And he’s explaining Seinfeld, and we just bring everybody in. And he said Obama’s now on the market. Like you can get Obama, like
he’s freshly on the market. And I asked, because I think I’m still, this Boulder event was
in my head of bombing, and I said so you know these
are getting paid huge money, and he shared the numbers. And it’s for 40 minutes and they fly in and do their shtick and get back in the plane and fly back out. And I said, do these guys ever bomb? And he said no. He said, “No at this
level you don’t bomb.” And it hit me all at once. It’s because they already
did 20 years ago, right? Somewhere along the line. It’s the same way you
talk about photography. It takes a lot to surprise you. You’ve been there, you’ve done that. You know that’s how it works for Seinfeld. Like he’s stood on enough stages, you know Obama did it for his presidency. And it was a good lesson
for me to hear this guy say, “No, at that level you don’t bomb.” It’s always, it might be better one night. But you don’t bomb at that level. And it’s kind of, you know that’s the goal in a craft like photography or filmmaking. You don’t bomb at a certain level. It’s just sometimes you’re good and sometimes you’re great. You’re always striving for great. – Well thank you so much for being great on this show tonight, and so grateful that you made the journey. We always love you having
you here on the show and on the CreativeLive stage anywhere. Always welcome, 100%, no questions asked. You get the itch, we’re
happy to collaborate. And congratulations on
the book for those, again, “Stories Behind the Images”. Corey Rich, it’s about photography, but it’s about so much more. What’s the best, any coordinates you wanna steer people towards? – You know the easiest
is to just go to Amazon. – Yeah.
– We also have a website, storiesbehindtheimages.com,
and I’m happy to sign any books in the lead up to the holidays. So if you want it signed go
to storiesbehindtheimages.com. If you just want it to get to
your house go to amazon.com. – (laughs) You’re not Amazon, no? – No. – Appreciate you being on the show, bud, thanks so much and look forward
to the next one already. Appreciate you. – Thanks Chase. (upbeat music)