Taking the Jump with Forrest Mankins
(birds chirping) (melancholy music)
I think the most common thread throughout my work is joy. (camera clicking) It's a practice for myself, you know. What can I focus on? What can I appreciate? You know, when you hear urban people that say, you're looking at your photos, you know, gives them joy. It makes them happy. To me, that's the biggest, the biggest compliment that I could ever get. Before I was doing photography, I was a musician. I went to a year and a half of college, dropped out, started a band with just one other guy. And then like really slowly, we started writing some music and finding other people to be in the band, just like really carefully curating it. (punk rock music) And it was good. The response was good. We had a lot of interest. And then, the thing that kind of changed it for me, was the touring aspect. After doing it for long enough I just had this sadness because I knew that, for me, touring was not going to be a sustainable practice. (birds chirping) As I wa...
s realizing that, then the reality of what's my identity started, you know, coming into play. And that was pretty scary, honestly. (somber music) (birds chirping) I started taking these trips, in between the tour. I drive my little truck out west or sleep in the front seat of it and just kind of hike around and take photos. And the goal was just to decompress from that. I think during that time when I was taking these trips and creating space for myself and kind of decompressing. I knew that I was starting the process of this sort of change. And I was interested in photography, but I never, ever really thought that photography would be any sort of way, for me. I just loved it severely and I couldn't not do it. (motorcycle engine roaring) When I was in Alaska, I met this old bear guide and he told me his story about coming to Alaska for the first time. And he said, he looked up at the stars and just kind of (laughing) to anyone said, 'If there's a way for me to end up here, let it happen.' He told me, sometimes you have to jump without knowing where you're gonna land. Often, it's just the act of faith in yourself to make that jump, that gets the ball rolling. (water splashing) You know, I felt like that road trip was that jump. And, I feel like I am, or hopefully becoming a better version of myself. And I think for people in general, when they kind of identify where they need to be and what they need to be. Then we can all become better versions of ourself. I think that's scary for a lot of people but when you embrace it, I think that introduces a lot of serenity into your life. And maybe helps you understand some more of the whys. Doing photography, I am a, I think a better version of myself. I'm more present and I'm more grateful. I'm more excited. And I just feel better. (chattering in background) To me, the goal is to just have this life experience that gives me time to be with the people I love and the places that I love. So, I know for me, photography has turned into this lens of looking for joy, and, you know, a goal is to (chattering in background) maybe, maybe send that message to other people, as well. (clacking) I've only been doing this for six years. I mean, people work 50 years at a craft, right? (truck humming) So... right now I'm just trying to keep my head down and make the best things that I can make and be the best person that I can be. And anything else that is gonna come is gonna be an opportunity. (zooming) (somber music ending)