To look back on a year’s work, I quickly realize how little that phrase really means in the beautiful chaos of my life. Its 2013, and I’m writing about 2012, in which many photos were shot in 2011. When the calendar flips over we look to milestone accomplishments for the highs, and lows. However, the milestones often tell a lot about the time surrounding it, not only of the adventure or accomplishment itself.
This idea rings true specifically for one story of the 2012 publishing season. A solo trip to Tenquille Lake Hut, an adventure, self written, self ridden, and documented by self portrait photography. I undertook the trip in the fall of 2011, with just the right mix of preparation, ignorance, energy, and fortitude. A quest for solitude and introspective time in the mountains with two of my constant companions: bikes and cameras. The story spells out the process of my trip, but looking back the trip seems forecast a thirst for exploring the world of mountain biking outside of bike parks.
The story found itself among the pages of the UK’s magazine SingleTrack.
In 2012 Whistler based writer Seb Kemp asked me to work with him on a project with Dirt UK that documents the rich underbelly of the riding scenes in Pemberton, Kamloops, and Whistler. The stories tore me away from the sugar coated candy of bike park mountain biking, and placed me on pedals exploring my adopted home of British Columbia
The winter of 2011-2012 was a wildly different year from the one which preceded it. I previously lived part time in a minivan, exploring Revelstoke and Whistler. In this past year I’ve had the supreme luxury of a shower and warm bed to call home. Its a welcome change from the life of peanut butter jam sandwiches for three meals a day in a van.
Culture shock is normally experienced on oversea adventures, or in most remote destinations which cannot be accessed by regular travel. However the Redbull Rampage packs a culture shock punch like no other. It is the largest gathering of twisted thinking riders and builders. Their approach and vision for riding bikes exceeds that of the rest of the relatively sane folk. Relatively sane folk who still throw their bodies down the sides of mountains.
Arriving at the rampage site building was already underway and I worked on a pre-event photo series for Pinkbike.Click the photo below
Builders were working on trail and stunts in areas of the site which I would see as unridable, areas with such high exposure, loose dirt, or incredibly technical moves I couldn’t contemplate riding myself. However as the build process and the event progressed, the culture shock wares off, my vision and risk acceptance became distorted, and more of it started to make sense. You could etch the line into the dirt, it was possible to make that transfer. Slowly I had become one of the insane desert rats, building and shaping inconceivable lines through soft red dirt and shale.
Kurt DeFreitas has been a favorite athlete to shoot for quite a long time. A packhorse, photogenic athlete, and keen photographer himself, he fits the bill for what a photographer needs and hopes for out of a rider. Kurt and I both picked this image as our favorite from the day’s shoot, and I’ve been keenly waiting to see which publication the image resonated with. Switchback Magazine’s Phil Booth made the call, announcing it was on their selects for cover use. A first for both myself and Kurt.
The issue also includes a double page spread of Sarah Leishman and Katrina Strand, and further, a single page of Katrina.
Switchback is an up and coming magazine in North America, it may be a little tough to find on the shelf in Canada, but I’m sure you’ll see a whole lot more of this mag in the future.