Good Enough is Never Good Enough with Corey Rich
Corey Rich, Chase Jarvis
Good Enough is Never Good Enough with Corey Rich
Corey Rich, Chase Jarvis
1. Good Enough is Never Good Enough with Corey Rich
Good Enough is Never Good Enough with Corey Rich
every one of its Jace. Welcome to another episode of the Chase Travis Live show here on CREATIVELIVE. You know the 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 have your dreams in career in 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 I guess today is the inimitable Mr Cory Rich I love you house Just yeah, Away from Tahoe this morning. Thank you for coming. My pleasure. My pleasure. It's ah, I love I love talking. I love telling stories. I love hearing stories and and that was really the spirit of this book. And I am any opportunity to to talk about the book, which really means kind of paying it forward with stories and stories, stories and lessons and, you know, having consumed it, Um, there are so many...
stories that tugging on my heartstrings as a lifelong photographer, we know we've come up at similar times a really similar trajectory, but it's also so widely applicable. It's These are lessons about life, not just adventure. Sports photography, Um, and so a congratulations. Thank you. Be on your comment about love talking and sharing stories. We already had a one hour conversation on the college before even started rolling. Were like, We've got to stop talking and start the cameras rolling so we're happy toe happen to be actually live in front of the cameras now. Are we doing instagram thing to What's up? Instagram? Um, if maybe at some point we'll even interrupt. If there are some questions, we will let you chime into the episode. But without further ado, aim. 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 because and I almost sent out a group text. All of my Seattle buddies that always claim it's blues guys every day because it kind of finally validated. OK, occasionally it is overcast and raining as right. It's the flip of what everybody else thinks it is. And so we we have the control over. That was a little switch Yeah, on Internet, and they don't make it too sweet, but, uh, it occasionally is cloudy in Seattle. This is true. I do. I do remember Chase. And it might be I don't I don't know if I have no sense of time. It could have been 20 years ago. Could have been 25 years ago, but coming up to see a little more than 25 years old. Well, let's see if you're 26. True, but I 29 perpetually 29. You know, it's something that happened in putting this book together. Is I realized I just ref, I have no sense of time and everything was a few years ago. That's how reference it was a few years ago. But I walking into this building, and as we sat on that couch, reminded me I came to Seattle, and I remember it was a sunny day was beautiful blue skies, and I was staying at a buddy's house on a lake. I don't remember what the lake is called, and everyone was outside like tanning in the park with tinfoil around. Yes, literally, and everyone was pale, but they were laying there, just getting burned in the sun in the summer. And then I 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 I don't Maybe we knew each other's names. But I remember you had a like a glowing, humming red bull cooler in the back like refrigerators stocked full of Red Bull. And I just remember in my head thinking, Oh, this guy has got it going on the bridge, sealed it. He is destined for success. If he has a fully stocked Red Bull refrigerator in his office, it might help toe Orient. Like what year do you think that was? Can you try? Um, because 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, Okay? It was certainly before was right around the year 2000. Ok, Okay. So yeah, 18 ish years. That that makes sense. It couldn't It could have been, uh, no, that would have been somewhere between 2000. The middle of 2000 was when that was OK. So you're better with time than I am. Only because I have, like, I know when Ah, that fridge was, ah, piece of furniture because he didn't have a lot of other furniture. Um, and a funny back straight 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 and met the Red Bull. My name? Ulrich Grill. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Who started the Red Bull photo files? There was no media around rebel. It was just a beverage that they had licensed from Thailand. And so in that fridge. But you didn't know is in addition to these new cans of Red Bull that started in the in the late nineties, there was also a couple bottles of the syrupy tie. Yeah, the original formula, Um, a noted to date ourselves. But I remember ah, they they was there was a person who was literally a white van. A new Red bull had called me and said that we'd like to you know, we're trying to see this product basically would like toa put a fridge in your and I was like, Okay, cool. And once a week, there was a white van that showed up of it, and just some guy came in with a palette full Red Bull and fill the thing up in dispute is bizarre. OK, but we're gonna go back to that time because that was a time where you were just figuring it out. I was just figuring out, and this was action sports before really had Ah, any media stories being told about it? Tell us way back how you got your stuff? Yeah. I mean, that was a really special moment, you know, kind of in the late night, mid to late nineties. I was a kid in college. I am 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 realized my photos were awful and these two parallel pursuits were born, and I I honed the craft. I started working in the newspaper world and, you know, really was learning. The craft of storytelling kind of went down this traditional photojournalism path. But in every free moment I was out rock climbing and having adventures. And finally I kind of get to this breaking point where I realized, Wait a second. I'm taking pictures of stuff that that this isn't why I fell in love with photography. I was shooting pictures of the mayor and, you know, 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 photographed the things that I care most about, Which is the outdoor adventure world climbing in particular? And he hired me to help me devise a plan, and he hired me for another six months and I saved up $3000 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 the six months on the road and and I had a Honda Civic and I took out all the seats except the driver's seat cut out a piece of plywood. You know, that's the advantage to being a shorter Dow. 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 the campground and introduced myself and asked if I could hang out and shoot pictures. And I came back from that 1st 6 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 rang 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 you know, what I was doing out there, kind of applying the skill that I learned that the paper, applying it to the adventure sports world was working like people actually thought it was halfway decent content. And and I really feel, I mean, that feels like yesterday. That's the crazy part is it really feels That's where I say I have no sense of time until I look in the mirror way. Yahoo's They don't in that window. Yeah, Yeah, I just said that to someone. I hadn't seen someone This book tour. I've met a lot of old friends. 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, wait. We've all aged in this process, but it does feel like yesterday. Yeah, it's really and, you know, I mean, it's a little cliche to say, but way, you know, everything has fallen into place. Yeah, and I don't want to say it's luck. It's just a whole lot of hard work and passion and and, you know, you know, I always I I I think I smile every day because I'm having a damn good time along Gwyn. And when I say them 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 let me break some to you. It wasn't yesterday. I know And, uh, this career arc Now that you can say this looking backwards, um, of yours has just been amazing. And as a long time friend and peer Ah, I my 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 lot of videos and films. It's been super fun to watch. Also in collaborating Around Creative Live in the recent book, it's like there is just really fun to watch someone who who you know in the same speaking, from my perspective, who is a true master of something. So I want to put a dot in this thing. Mastery, Um, and you told it. What I would say is a pretty quick story pulled the seats out of your car, and then six months later you were earning money. I want to go back and explore this part because there's a lot of people were 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 or whatever you were when you did that. Maybe there 42. So there may be more at risk than just some college tuition. But regardless of your forties, who were 22 there is some failure. So take us batters fail failure so fearsome. ITT's a loaded equation. So take us back and I want to explore your mental state around getting your job. Is the 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 have not worked out. So we had 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. You know, in Chase 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 there's still that little few that someone's gonna figure a way to saying it. Let's go. 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 an hour ago. It's sort of, you know, good enough is never good enough. I think I think that's a quality that you know, though, 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 film making, it's 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 in great it was I was just in butter note, beaten to me in the gym, you know, 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, it's You have to be very realistic about at what level are you performing in your country in, and we have every time you depress that shutter as a photographer, you then get to look at an image, and you can literally look at it and say, Is this mediocre? Is this good? Is this great? It turns out great, really hard. You know, that was one of the experiences and making this book that, you know, for 30 some odd years I've been a photographer, I've got a few great pictures, and it's hard to even safe you. It takes a lot to make great pictures a lot coming, and in a career you make a few great pictures. Great. Good is you can consistently make good. That means your professional. Yeah, consistently making good as professional, mediocre photography. That's really 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 your ultra critical of what you're doing. And you're constantly and every day in every action you're striving for great and ingrates. Not easy, and that's it. And it's, you know, I think I like to say that there's something called the collective subjective photography, subjective art, subjective music subjective. And But if you ask 100 people, is this a great song? And everybody says it's a great song It's a great song. That's all it because it's subjective. It's your it's the collective opinion, and but you still unit that you need to be the first judge of is that word good? Have you pushed yourself hard enough is how would you refine even those great pictures, even the greatest pictures of my career? I can still look at them and say It would have been so much better if and I and I think that's a healthy attitude to have a healthy mental perspective, which is, you know, how do you 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 1st 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 apparitions, the Beth Wald's the 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, are you making photographs? It's is your widget. Just a Z good is all the competition. Is your widgets so much better that it's gonna compel someone to walk out and stop using their old widget and buy a new widget? And and I and I don't know, I've always just lived by that philosophy. So in true, though, it's so true. It's true, You know, every now and again, you know, you fall below that, you know, I'm always driving to be a better be good, trying to get to great. Every now and again you fumble when it goes toe like mediocre and songs. You're honest with yourself, 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 Red. It's sort of your you know, you there's just this consciousness of I'm always you know, you've got a North starts. What am I aiming? What am I trying to dio and I also really early on realized, and I 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 that you can't do it all. You can't You can't. You know, as a college student, this this an easy way to explain it. You know, I fell in love with photography. Really? Really. I was a kid. I was 13 years old, but 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, that just wasn't interest, that I wanted to be hanging on a rope in Yosemite, waiting for opportunities that, you know, sort of, that's all. That's all I could. I had blinders on. Yeah, I mean, Teoh some degree. I think I still have blinders on. There's a lot of life that I just like block that out because it's not that it's not that it's not great for other people. It's just it's not found bad or boring or anything, but but yeah, yeah, I liken it to, um Well, first of all, I agree with your statement in as you sort of prefaced it. Second of all, I like it. I like it. It toe sacrifice. Now, I was just talking to a mutual friend of ours, Chris Burkhardt, about, like, the sacrifices. And when I think back, I can say that I, for different periods in my my career, have not been a good husband for not been a good friend or not been a good, um, business partner or not been a good fill in the blank because I've been so obsessed, like, freakishly obsessed with the work, that not enough room for everything, 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, you know, tap into the occasional greatness and be consistently good bye, consistent. I'm talking about like a professional athlete, quality, consistent professional photographer in this case that it was impossible 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 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 lot of room to be a really good photographer and love it and have none of the downside and be able to be a good father and husband and friend and business partner, mentor 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, if a few things I just had some really close friends over for dinner the other night and and you know, one of my dear friend. 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 that at one level you can write that office like you know, that happens. But not not when you have a normal you know, when you work for of Fortune 500 company of vacation time and you can schedule your time off may be short of being the CEO. You make weddings. That's it. Like when your friend gets married, you make the wedding. Yeah, I was in Pakistan, you know, it's one of those and and, you know, a trip of a life that led to the development and possibility of your career. Absolutely. That's right. It's and I think, but my friends, I mean this the people that I'm really close to also know that like they understood, we talk about it. They know that they've known that from the beginning. Um, you know, I'm 44 now, and my wife is 10 years younger, kind of by design. And we had a child much later. I have a six year old girl now. There's no way that I was ready to have that child 30 years in my early 30. Could it would be impossible. And but those air, you know, I think there's there's just a lot of time with friends, a lot of time with our community. It's that it's the missing weddings. It's the, you know, those air, those aerial sacrifices I'm and I'm. 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 like I think I'm gonna be trying to be an incredible dad. I'm showing what I want to show. My daughter is passion. You know what his passion look like. And some of that is, you know, 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 face timing, explaining why I'm doing it. But you know that I think that comes with whatever. Whatever you care deeply about you have you get X amount of time on this planet. You get X amount of time per day and it's how do you partition and how do you dole that out? And and I'm very particular about my time. I'm I don't want to say selfish about my time, some very giving. With my time. I want to 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, you know, the older you get, the more you realize it's pretty finite. It's a pretty finite amount of time. And how much of it goes to the craft, how much of it goes to You know, 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 in the filmmaking world, in the photography world, I think it's one of our responsibilities is to pay it forward to share to kind of, you know, there's no secrets. Awesome. This game. Yeah, I learned a long time ago. You know, the secret sauce is you just work damn hard all the time. Better love what you do not, like grind your nose off. Yeah. Yeah, that's right. I don't know if that's the the answer that you're looking for. You know what I mean is the concept of weddings and weddings. You know, being able to justify missing your best friend's wedding when your twenties, you know, or whatever and you start to build a look back a little bit with a little bit more time and you're banging like, Wow, that was, you know, kind of a big deal on that. I think of the holiday. Is the family experiences in the weddings, the births, the deaths, the funerals that, like I missed the holidays air good when I had that 100. Yeah, hundreds and hundreds like and I'm not exaggerating animist, hundreds of those events and holidays in time of family. And as you know, you said not bring writing it. But the awareness sure is, I think is is part of what I'm asking for. And that's I say that not to dissuade anyone who's thinking I'm going for it more to understand that the people who are if you aspire to be a Cory Rich, like this concept of like being around for everything is uh and is not, I would say it's not possible, but I That's where I would immediately fall back and say, But the goal isn't to dry and be another quarter rich. The goals 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 going to be just fine whether you want to be world class or hobbyist. But t to tap into what you've done to build a make a book like this, the films like you've made is next level. Thanks. You know that I think what's interesting about this idea of sacrifice is along the way. Very rarely did I consciously feel like I'm giving up something that you know that I am sacrificing. Not really choice, right? Yeah. I mean, there was just never choice. There was never a choice. It wasn't No, I mean, when you said holidays, I really I mean, I blocked it out. Yeah, Yeah, I just for 20 years. Mr. All the holiday? Yeah, 100%. We just for the for, you know, now with a little girl. And you know, I've designed my life. I'm designing. It's slightly different because I want to be there. I want to be a grad and travels with me and my wife and I really conscientious of our life. But we just probably for the first time in 15 or 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 m I a 2025. Never on your shocked Like where you're here, you know? And it was And it's exactly what you said it. So, you know, I don't remember ever making the decision to not be there just was never there. Yeah, I was, You know, I was doing this. Yeah, it felt like it wasn't. I think that's interesting. Acknowledgement. I can say the same thing. I felt like I never felt like I I felt certainly felt sad like, No, I'm gonna miss your wedding, but it was never like him. Should not do Iraqi John it right. And I just I don't want to paint it as a dichotomy. I just I'm trying to help. You know, folks, you're listening. Understand? If they were operated that level, and I think the same is what we're talking about photography and in your case, Cory action sports photography. But I have yet to find in entrepreneurship or the cello or, um, the non profit world, or like fill in the blank. Anyone who is truly operating that level, that hasn't made insane. Zach sacrifices. You know, I also think when you talk about that, 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 want to go down this road. And I think the other part that I think is flawed as often times, you know, I get a lot of email on people asking questions and when, When someone in essence sends me their business plan before they send me their photos, it's, 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 but here's how I'm going to sell them and how I'm going to get assignments and, you know, wire wire 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 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. She, you know, working on. It's fun when I see it on the magazine cover, the billboard or on television. But I don't get as much joy out of that kind of the final. You know, the final delivery, 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, you know, how do I get jobs and how do I make money at this is I always, like Time out. 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 like mediocre good, great. If what you're doing is great, everything else falls into in tow line. Really, just a minute fallen, assuming assuming your tea for it to fall in line is there. But if you don't have the work, there's no opportunity here. Oh, that's right. That's it. That's not I mean, 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 that that is that's the exception to the rule. Usually it's someone has exceptional work because they've worked really hard, you know, 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 to make anything, right? Yeah. Anything. I don't know if, uh, there's some questions for those folks at home who are listening. We did have instagram live. All right, I'm going to Ah, repeat that question for the folks at home since I've got a mic. And you don't, um, when you first started shooting, um, 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, that's almost this. 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 eating any freaking good or not. But this is 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 action sport. Any adventure sport. Um, you don't show up at the tennis courts, you know, down the street in Seattle and Andre Agassi's out there whacking balls and it just doesn't happen. The pros plan one field in the you know, the amateurs plan another and the beauty of adventure sports. They ski on the same hills, they go to the same cliffs. And, you know, 20 years ago I figured out that I would go to Yosemite and, you know, 50 yards to the left, where the best climbers in the world they were climbing with steeper and with fewer holds. And I've always been a believer, and you're just completely transparent about what you're trying to do. What I'm trying to dio you know which first and foremost I'm just driven by. I introduced myself on. Do you mind? I'm I love taking pictures. You love rock climbing. Do you mind if I spend time with you taking pictures in 99.9% of the time? The answers? Absolutely. It's this perfect marriage between what I love to do and what they love to do. Um, 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 it's really I You know that specialize early on, if you're like, if you're a crow and your goal is toe, take pictures of the Lotan. First of all, most working pros it out. Another goal was not to, like, make money working at the local crag. Right? Right. You're sort of like that's where you're honing your skills. And then money is made on adventures. When they're a bunch of conditions like puppets, bastards are out more intentional. That being said yeah, I think is 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 of the mountain biker, the skier, and then ask for this model release. It's really what you alluded to Jason's. Don't let the business side of it get in front of Don't don't let it, you know, don't get the cart before the horse tail wag the dog at the end of those. Yeah, and I also like a piece of color, if I may. Is that the I found that 99% of the images that I was proud of or that I felt like had viability in the market or we're 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 on the turn or this hold or this, you know, element. And sure, there's some documentarian approach that works. And occasionally, but 99 times out of 100 there's this. It's a collaboration, right? 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 are skills come together? Is it? I'm gonna be there. I'm gonna nail my part. And as the athlete or climber, whatever. Some more collaborative for the people who are at home going like how our pro photos made. Yeah, I almost feel like there's different phases in my career, and maybe it's because it's so deeply rooted and climbing definitely early on. For me, it was truly alive 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, you know, 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 man. And of course, the athletes totally knew that I was there. And, you know, there would be No, But But I'm you know, I think for five or 10 years it was truly kind of mostly found moments. Yeah, on expeditions. And then this kind of interesting thing happens, which is you know, your then It was in the print world in my by. My photo credit was appearing everywhere, and then the phone starts ringing and it's the ad agency world calling and and they're saying we love 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 for an ad. It was first I did it sort of in that documentary authentic way. And then once you once I knew how to do it authentically Then I knew how to kind of orchestrated toe 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, you know, for me, everyone gets to that point in a different way. You know, for me, it was coming really from that photo journalism background, Yeah, you know, might the two things I understood which was being outside and being dirty and, you know, suffering and and photojournalism. And and now I think those two skills often times 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 field, too. Yeah, but, you know, nine times out of 10 now I'm being asked to do it, like on a Thursday noon, and that's the difference between a pro and amateur, Right? Right. Like the pro golfer like, Oh, I can only hit it straight if it's not windy and it's not raining, and no one is watching and that doesn't equal. Pro pro is like you can literally create that stuff on the man. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, I want to go back for just a second. To that time we met at one of my That was my first photo studio that was out of my house. Remember the conversations that we handle? Gosh, I don't wondering how they like they compared to the ones we're having right now. Yeah. Yeah, I think it was more of like a passing. I think it was. I don't remember a long conversation just for the For what it's worth, I walked by that this morning because my I still live two blocks, different house, but of two blocks from that location. And it's right next door to my coffee shop where I go every morning. If I'm not Seattle early. Funny. So I know the spot. Super well, I know I can picture in my mind is now a restaurant that my wife and I were partners in with another friend. But that space is still there. And that's what I was curious. If you remember what we talked about relatives say what we're talking about now. I mean, I think would so fascinating. Now toe look back. You kind of look in the rear view mirror in my, you know, it's still short. Careers were young guys. It's that there's an amazing camaraderie amongst professionals in this industry. Whether it's you and I sitting down, whether you just talked about Chris, it's I think there's just this open door, I think, and we're living in the golden age of just free flowing sharing information. And I think CREATIVELIVE is, you know, is right at the pinnacle of that. It's that idea of just sharing and paying forward. And I I love that no matter. You know, the col leagues that I have the friends that I have in this industry, that we can pick up the telephone and just have deep, sincere riel conversations about the trials, the tribulations we can celebrate together over the phone or in person, and that I think we were 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 that I think there really was this sort of philosophy when I was maybe younger that, you know, 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? And you know that I get so excited when I see a new name and I see incredible work that they're doing and I'm in it it because it energizes may. I love seeing new, talented folks out there. You know, men and women just doing cool stuff, and it's I want to believe that it's It's because everyone shares thes days that that's part of why the bars is being raised. Well, speaking of sharing, when I visit your book here because thank you A for sharing with me and sending me an advanced copy signed no less right there. Um, but speaking of sharing and stories, your new book Hear Stories behind the images, lessons from a life in adventure photography. Ah, this is 30 years in the making, right? Yeah, sure, It's like a whole lifetime worth of spending time outdoors. and, um, what compelled you to create it? What's the why in this book, You know, I I think from the very first time that I went rock climbing, I I want to pull up contest. I did 35 pull ups when 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, you know, one morning of 5 a.m. He dropped us off in the parking lot, and we load it into Bob Porters truck. And my math teacher was in the other in the passenger seat and and I remember distinctly. He had a 40 pack of powdered donuts that he opened up in this aroma of powdered donuts, you know, blew through the car and they 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 11 coffee and powdered doughnuts. And I immediately thought, God, this just so different than going on a road trip with Mom and Dad. This'll like it already had blown my mind. And then we drove for two hours into this year in Nevada Mountains, and Bob and George immediately went into story telling mode. They just had 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 in the in the cultural aspect, just a culture of climbing. And and I think on that day I fell in love with the art of storytelling. I realized I was sitting with two Jet I masters of storytelling, and they didn't know it that, you know, they were to school teachers who loved climbing. But they had this gift. We got back in the car and they told more stories and and I think that day I didn't realize it, but I wanted stories of my own. You know, 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 a campfire and listen to stories and tell stories, and that's really what this book is. It's, you know, I almost I wrote the book and I I envisioned sitting at a campfire with the reader 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 what that's. The greatest gift that 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 they are. You know that they've mastered what they dio and often times their self deprecating. You know, they're the lessons. You know, I kind of put my ego in shack when I wrote this book, because I think the mistakes I've made or some of the you know, the great lessons in the book. But that's it. It's it's really about. I wanted to, you know, I wanted I wanted to preserve the stories. First of all, you know, I found these are a lot of the stories that I tell you know, they're 56 of the stories that I tell, you know, sitting around the campfire and the hardest part about this book was you know which 50 someone stories of the you know now the greater part of my life of stories. What do you tell in which ones are meaningful? You know, this isn't this is definitely not a traditional photo book. I think that things I want to be really clear on from the outsider perspective is 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 and with intention and then capturing and then being able to craft them. And it's about life. This is 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 its living life through your lens. I was pretty adamant that, you know, this is a book that you read, and then you look at the pictures because this story's air about the pictures. But I was pretty adamant that it shouldn't be a hardcover oversized book, you know, 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 I'm not sure I've ever read Ah, hard cover photo book cover to cover. It's just not designed for that. It's designed to sit on your coffee table and this book. I wanted to be small, and I wanted it to be something that, you know. If someone's going backpacking, they could tear it in half and bring, you know, 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 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 you jumped to the middle of the book, and it doesn't have to be chronological, the way that you don't read it start to finish. But that was really the spirit of the book I wanted to. I wanted it to be lessons that folks could, um, that last forever. And I also was very conscientious of, um you know, these stories I wanted to preserve thumb while while they still are meaningful to May I, you know, fight and 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 getting, you know, buried in an avalanche. But But there is There has been this reality in my world of I used to say, you know, that when people would ask is what you do dangerous and my always my go to answer Chase was, you know, driving toe work in Seattle. Commuting in traffic is far more dangerous than what I dio. But now, 30 years later, I don't know any way that's died commuting to work. I haven't I don't know anyone that's died commuting to work, but I can't count all of the friends that I've lost on my fingers and toes. Yeah, and so there's that, You know, that was the other small motivation behind this was preserved thes stories that you know, um and and I know one day. My daughter is barely interested in the book right now, but she loves storytelling because I think it's so much a part of our home. You know, when friends come over, we sit around the we sit around our fire, which is really the island in our kitchen, and we tell stories. And Layla's totally embraced this idea of of communicating, you know, she's even learning at six years old how to like, tee up a story where you describe some detail and then, you know, kind of you set it up so that there is some mystery around what's going to happen. And then you get to the punch line and, you know, I realized that's that's what this is about. I wanted to have that gift. Well, we talked earlier about sacrifice, and you've already said that some of the stories, um, made it in the book and some didn't. Did you have a criteria on which to decide, or was it really was a pure, like intuition. This is a go on. This is a no no. Well, you know, maybe that's it's worth describing the process for making this book. It was, um, you know, I think I'm a solid photographer. I made a cup what 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 story telling as much as I do photography, but I'm not a great writer. Like, you know, writing is painful for me. I can do it, but it really hurts. And, you know, we talked about this and you're in writing your book. Yeah, and and so I really in in putting this book together the way that it would start, as I find I'm the most creative when I'm actually moving. No, I consider the desk and I can force myself to do something. But I'm I enter the flow state when my heart's beating at beats per second. Some sweat's dripping in my eye, and you know there's sort of a door fins. And most of this book was was written while walking or riding a bike, and I would ride up the hill for an hour to and you know, the first ride was just thinking. I had a couple of pictures in my head and I would think through what is the story? What would the message be? What would I actually right in this chapter? And I you know, I think photographers, many photographers have this gift. We can see things weaken visually. I can t up lots of visuals in my head and remember those little details and I'd go through a checklist often times of Matt. That photo doesn't really work because this story is 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 know? Yep, this is an image of so worthy image. And, you know, the IPhone has changed our world by taking notes just in the notes app. And then I would maybe spend another ride thinking about what would what would the lesson be? How would I tell this story? And then eventually I would whether it was riding up a hill or sitting on a plane or sitting in a hotel bar, I would just do a voice mental into the phone as though I'm sitting at a fire. I would tell my five or 10 or 15 or 20 minutes story into my phone, and then that would get transcribed. And then I worked with an incredible writer, Andrew Bischel Rot and 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, um and often times would go through a few revisions. But it started as doing blonde posts over five years ago. It was probably inspired by your blogging, you know, you were like the the the guy that, like, showed us all How toe create a photography. Blawg and I started writing essays and, you know, 70 somewhat essays later realized thing. I think we've got a book here. I found so much joy in all of the little, um, moments. I remember seeing pictures in your book the first time I saw them say in a Patagonia catalogue. Or there's a guy named Justin Bastion, 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 and and then I'm like only years later, piecing all this stuff together like Wait a minute, Justin, who introduced me to Katarina Fake Who started Flicker, who is in this photograph of Cory's that was in the It was in the Patagonia catalog that I saw in, you know, or whatever it was. It was very nostalgic for me. And perhaps, I think on the obvious, superficial answer might be to say, because we were in the same industry and pursuing a similar path. But, you know, go back to that point that I mentioned earlier about like, there's just a universality to this material, um, about adventure, like whether you're climbing El Cap or you're tryingto figure out what school to get your kid into or you've decided to change careers like there is adventure in all of those things. And that's part of what I have, you know, in, say indisputably that I love about the book eyes. 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, and would you have changed anything in making the book? No, I don't I don't I don't think I don't think I said it was a joyful earlier, which to me was amazing. Like writing. My book was not joyful. It was joyful. Uh, 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 like slowly and methodically over time and, like, bite sized pieces like I was never the guy. Congratulations. Yeah, but I mean, the funny thing is, I think it was by mistake. I wish I could say that was intentionally because I was all I've always been the guy that waited until the 11th hour to cram for an exam. I mean, in fact, once I did a Ted X talk, and I 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 it, talk together, and I and this is just to kind of illustrate how I'm always the guy that does it at the last minute, except for this book. And I remember sitting in my basement, my my office was still in my house. And one morning I got up and I It's, you know, the Ted X talk is a couple of days out, and I called one of my dear friends, Tommy Caldwell, rock climber, And Tommy had just done a big Ted X talk in D. C. And I called. I was 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 hour and then you, you know, just crams. Yeah, yeah, just go deep. Yeah, you just dig deep and you just make it happen. And I have six in the morning and I called Tommy. Say, hey, can I just So how did you prepare for that Ted X talk? I mean, what did you do? Tell me And he said, Wins. You're talking. I said, Oh, it's on. You know, Saturday this Saturday is Yeah, I have this Saturdays at all. Dude, you know, he said, Oh, man, I've never prepared for anything in my life. More than that text exit, I hired a coach I like, and it went through this process of rounds of writing. Then you would go for hikes in the woods with with regard to climb never before climbed routes on the dawn wall. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And and, uh and of course, in that moment, you know, sort of my heart stopped nervous. 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 M o. Yeah, that's my Even though I don't like to admit it, this was like the exception to the rule. We're slowly like I trickled these stories out and enjoyed was 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, you know, accumulate over time. Um, I made That's my take away from this talk, Josh. I need to dio to do more of the slow trickle accumulation over time and getting maximum joy out of the experiences. Well, congratulations on the book. It's It's really stunning and had a couple of questions, if we can, on the couple of different stories. So, uh, why did you start with the actual title? Is not not the preface, The doing What you love is the is Chapter one and yeah, 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 about it was that kind of cliche to say this or think this or clearly If you're going to 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 I to me it's still just the 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 that it all comes down to Yeah, you can't put as much time and energy into something as we do into photography or film making or whatever it is you're doing, unless you really, really, deeply love it in are passionate about it, and I and I think 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 that and the seats out of your car. Yeah, this magic, that's that. I remember that the first time you told me before the book and before the the, uh, conversation. I think even before your creativelive class, you're telling that story. I thought it was really moving. And but that's born out of passion. Yeah. I mean, that's born out of doing what you love. And that picture of Kevin Gallagher ascending a rope over the Mexico 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? What I could I ever pay for the 100 rolls of film that I shot? You know, it was just born sheerly out of, you know, I talked about I still have blinders that air like this, I think then I had blinders that were like this, You know, all I could see was this just narrow, you know, 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, you know, those air sort of the tenants of my life and career that does. They kind of haven't changed. Actually, I was just gonna say, Have they changed? I mean, it's still, you know, I spend less time hanging on ropes today, and I think my you know, as I've grown up, I've also had this realization and I talked about having a daughter, and I realized, you know, I don't want to always be taking risks. Um, you know, I really love being alive, and I want to have a I want to have a sustainable career in lifestyle. You know, I wanted to buy a house, and I and I realized there was a part of my brain that I also I like running a business. I like that kind of those challenges. Just like challenge, I guess, is the so you know, my world looks a little different. Now we have I'm a business partner and production company. We have 15 full time employees and We work with contractors all over the globe and not everything that we shoot his adventure sports. But I always say that you know, everything that I learned shooting adventure sports, you know, like look, if you can do it hanging off a rope 2000 feet off the ground, Aiken, definitely do it with my feet on concrete. You know, with with lots of people talking in my coffee cup and your name went with on your chin? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. In fact, then I get, you know, in the adventure world, you spend so much time and energy just physically getting there in your managing risk, you know, the psychology of the athletes and and then you switch gears and talk. 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 kind of, you know, athleticism to get yourself there. And but those air, the greatest lessons 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 years. It's not. Is this Cerak going to clean up, crush me or is you know, it's the rope getting frayed on an edge. It's okay. That client over there, um really wants me to try something else, but I need to get this shot. Let's get him another latte. Yeah, well, I humor him that I'm to tell some stories, and then I'm and so it's I mean, it's all just challenged, and I guess that's what I love it. It's the I love the process of making a great final product. I mean, that's that's, I think, where I get all the joy. Um, I'm gonna let you choose. I have off to two stories that I want to touch on. One is just go there first because, um, I'm choosing to and you talk a little bit about shooting Alex on free soloing on. And I mentioned this in part because it's relatable because of the success of Free solo. You know, our mutual friends made the film. Jimmy Chin, uh, one of the co directors of this wife shy. Um, you were photographing this so the same places in moments with same people and because It's relatable to anyone. You don't have to be in action sports photographer lover because the film has seen such wide spread success. But earlier you talked about losing friends and you can't come from on fingers and toes. Um, what's it like in that moment? You do a nice job of talking about it in the book, but share it with us? Yeah, you know, I mean, Alec, what is a guy doing without ropes? Your mind takes a second to recognize that you're 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 that they are everyone in this book. Actually, they're all extraordinary human beings, men 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 lets us into their lives. We get a backstage pass to life, which is pretty extraordinary. I mean, literally we can open any door, you know, we photographer storytellers with that camera and and Alex is one of those you know he is the one in 10 billion when he is really no. Alex is one of the smartest guys that you will ever meet. You know, he's really intelligent. He's also in a you know, incredible athlete. Yeah, you know, weekly so good. He's this He's a spy minutes a specimen. I mean, he's a specimen, but it's but he's a specimen and kind of two different realms. He has his brain is 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, you know, we view Alex most folks as they should. They know Alex is like, you know, the the boldest climber of all time, climbing El Capitan without of rope. But it's when you see you know that those gift together, the mental capacity with the physical capacity is really remarkable. Alex was this past summer and came to town, and in a couple of us went from mountain bike ride. And Alex is not a mountain bike, right? 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 on 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, you know, inclined by climbing standards. Alex is a 59 mountain biker. That's that's kind of, you know, he's a kind of I don't even want to say Intermediate Mountain. He's like a beginner mountain biker, and we take him on probably like a bigger ride. Then we should. But he's an animal, like we know that aerobically he can handle this and it was fascinating to watch Alex. I was. Chad was the slowest in the group, and I was kind of between Chad and Alex, and Chris was leading the way it was. 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 in 30 minutes and he was walking his bike and kind of falling over and getting back on. And then finally, he blurted out to Mrs, I kind I kind of get it now. It's kind of like on citing a boulder problem. You have to, like, look at the holds. But now I'm looking like the train. And then I just have to like on site in Calcutta. And then he did it like he just for the rest of the right. He went from, like, 59 to 5 12 in the span of like, 30 minutes because he had that mental capacity to sort of analyze the situation to physically, like take control of the bike. And he could, you know, he could send they were connected. The messages, Yeah, body and get execute like, because he's one of the most highly tuned athletes on the planet. But it But it doesn't change, you know, to your original question, watching, watching Alex without a rope. It's hard because you're watching a friend, and then you you sort of even though Alex will tell you and I've interviewed Alex on this topic, it's you know, about free soloing and, like, you know, 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, so calculated. But, you know, there's always the possibility, and it and it is I've always and I haven't worked with Alexa's Muchas Jimmy and chided for for their film. But those times that have shot Alex without a rope. I always have that conversation up front because I just feel like I have to, which is never, ever do something because I'm asking you to. And Alex is always have that confidence and sort of that that sensibility to to back down when he doesn't feel. And I think you saw that in Jimmy and Chuy's film. You know, he backed down several times and from different s Absolutely. I mean, we did. A shoot that's in the book years ago was for a Nikon camera launch, and Alex was one of the characters, and it was really impressive. We shot him free soloing. A rude in Joshua Tree would probably shot at three times on day one, and on Day two, it was a little hot. He did it one time, started up the second time. It was kind of like sweaty and that set me back down, they said, I think I'm done. And it was It was a huge relief at some level, you know, sort of. Okay, God, we're done. We're fine. It's over. Yeah, because it's It's painful to be united in those moments for sure. Yeah, that's and but But it's it's also if if anyone really has processed, you know, the kind of the upside and the downside and sort of what he's, 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 an internalized it and rationalized it and thought, given it the level of of intellect that Alex says now that and it doesn't mean if you know when someone falls, it's still the same consequence. Yeah, but yeah, it is pretty tough. And, you know, I can say this is one of Alex's friends, and I think many friends would say, You know, we all hope that that was like the grand achievement and free soloing. It's I think it's one of the greatest sports feats of all time. Yeah, for sure, I don't know. Maybe that's maybe that's the last of the Big three solos. It would be great if it were. I'm kind of thinking for everybody. Yeah. Um, tell me one story is Is that what I was trying to decide where to go? I was curious about I 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. Yeah, that's a really good one. That's it, because there's that. There's certainly a lot of them on the cutting room floor or on the leg. Ride somewhere The jack. Sure. And if it was, was it because you had an image without the story, or was there a story without an image? I think there's even you note letter in any one of thes chapters. You know, I don't know how many words each chapter is. Let's call it 1000 words. Still, a lot hits the cutting room floor, the beauty of sitting around campfires that you can tell long stories. You can add lots of color and texture, and I was just reminded, um, I was giving a talk a couple of weeks ago and and one of my dear friends taught often Blocker stands up, and he's a Tahoe legend. Kind of, you know, proved 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, you know, he was part of one of the stories. We went to the Arab Gatch Peaks in Alaska to do a new route, Um, with Tommy Caldwell and Hayden Kennedy and a great group of guys, Tommy Thompson and Dane Henry. And we're doing it for Discovery Channel. So we were there. We were. The subjects of this show is a show called Flying Wild Alaska, about Bush pilots in Alaska. And so, you know, the film crew followed us up until the Bush plane dropped to soften. We skied in 20 miles into these rooms, maybe as remote as you can get in Alaska. During the winter, it was minus 20 and it was a little crazy, really wild riel adventure. And, you know, there's grizzly bears all over. And so we brought. I was reminded Todd introduced me and he told this funny piece of this story that never made it into the book. But we brought, you know, for our protection. We brought this giant handgun and we brought 50 rounds of ammunition, but where everything was human powered. So, you know, once we got dropped off, we're telling sleds. And we had these heavy sleds and the last night that were in our base camp, we had to skin out another 20 miles with heavy sleds. And so anything that was extra weight, you know, we wanted to lose it and said, You know, a lot of whiskey got consumed and we had because you didn't want to carry it out. We didn't want to carry it out. That's right, we didn't You didn't want to carry it out. And so, you know, we had 50 rounds of ammo. We saw bear tracks, but we never were confronted by a bear. And so we decided, you know, after a little whiskey was consumed that we could definitely shoot, you know, 44 of the rounds and have you know, six remaining in the in the gun. And so, you know, for an hour, So we stood in this remote campground you started is just trying to hit stuff. And then, you know, we're shooting behind our heads and you know, and it's, you know, we shoot 44 rounds of ammo pretty heavy, you know? Yeah, that's our rational. And the next morning, you know, we're feeling pretty good about our decision. Little hung over the next morning and we start skinning out. We have. It's gonna hurt no matter what. When you skin, you have 20 plus miles. It's pulling sleds. It's brutal, and we're skinning out were, you know, eight hours into our day and everyone has their head down. It hurts everyone the same amount. Everyone's fit and Tommy Caldwell is up ahead of us. He's like leading the group. You know, the guy in front is working the hardest because they're putting in the track. And Tommy's an animal. He's in beast mode as he's doing this, and all of a sudden we hear like he screams like a girl. Does this shriek like and we see him unclipped from his sled, and he's kind of far enough out that we don't know what's happening, and it comes skinning back to its really fast, he says. There's a huge grizzly bear, and we're in this narrow slot canyon. We have to get out because there's gonna be a plane the next day and, you know, all of a sudden this idea of shooting 44 rounds, you know, we're looking for this pistol, and all of a sudden, you know, we have this huge revolver, and you also realize that what do you 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 and all of a sudden, you know, we get as close as we possibly can. And Todd is the, you know, 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 and all of a sudden we all want to just be right next to Todd. You know, it's sort of anyone falling behind. I remember Hayden Hayden Kennedy skin was falling off one of the skis, and you know he's gonna wait for me, you guys, you know, and we skied up to where you know where Tommy left is sled and a grizzly bear had literally just killed. Believed to caribou had killed the caribou and had, you know, panicked when Tommy skied up into the Baird like mostly covered the caribou with snow but was clearly in the bushes someplace. And it was, you know, now it's like getting late in the day, and it was the most terrifying ski out because we have this, you know, six rounds of ammo, you know, five or six of us in a line. And we just skied past this like French artist you. And so you know that. And so I just I don't know why that that story comes to mind because that's there's a great essay in the book about that trip in about Hayden Kennedy and with an incredible person. He isn't like lessons learned on the wall, But you know, that's the beauty of adventure, riel adventure, where the outcomes and certain is that there's, you know, there's layers two stories and and I and I think that's what I get so much joy out of this. You know, long form story telling you can you can tell the bullet story you could tell their story. You can tell that, you know, and then the story that's in the book um well, it was truly remarkable. I also want to say thank you so much for Ah, Page 269 Chapter 54 Little shout out to your experiences here at CREATIVELIVE. Thanks so much for including us in you're magically crafted book. So I appreciate that for the folks who have pick it up. Um, read that. But thank you very much for that. And that was a great an odd No, I meant it. I mean, I think what you've done with creative lives is really special. And I I really took pride in writing that chapter because I, you know, in the most complimentary way. And for those of you at home that read that chapter, I think it's pretty accurate description of this guy that's sitting next to me, who is a genius and who is passionate. Um, and I hope it makes you laugh. Actually, it does. And you've done some really magical stuff with creative. I have a couple of classes, one with Red Bull, where we were live streaming some of the world's best action sports, uh, snowboarders and your photograph of him on the summit of Northstar live in. And that was, like, five years ago or something like that. That was crazy. You made so money. Uh, you know, great. You've taught so many great last time creativelive and your mainstay in the hallway here I mentioned that you were coming today and for for this and, you know, people started scurrying around like 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, uh, saying sand kind things. And, um, yeah, I have a ton of respect for you in your work, and this book is a huge, huge win. So many stories, Not just about photography of about life and about being a creator. And just you have this, really it's, like, so consumable. It really is so relatable. And for that, you have accomplished something that 99.99% of books don't don't accomplish. So thanks, Chase. Shout out. Ah, and then is ah sort of closing here. I wanted to ask you, um, with everything that you have accomplished, you've hinted in this. Ah, in our conversation today about diversifying, you talked about, um wanting to do things that where you weren't risking your life and still wanting to push the boundaries because that's part of your personality. Talked about expanding your footprint with the production company. Um, what what part of this are you doing for, like, 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 You know what is next for you as you expand your footprint? Is it more books? Is it? You know, we're gonna teach more because you basically have what I one of the things. One of the many things I admire about you you've you've mastered still photography have mastered storytelling You've mastered, you know, making short films you've mastered. Now, clearly you've mastered capturing the stories in the form of a book. Your you know your new company is doing while 15 employees like you can go 100 directions. How do you decide what to do so many people want to follow you. And they also want to take a cue because they're at a crossroads in their life. How in the hell What would Corey dio w w c d? Yeah. I mean, you know that I can't take credit for that line. Um, you know, adventures where the outcomes uncertain. I had a mentor, one of the great climbing pioneers, Tom Frost. Tom was the co founder of Patagonia with u Bahn Chenard, and he's got a blurb on the back. Yeah, and and and Tom is no longer with us. Tom, Tom is, you know, passed away late in his life. And but he was He was a genius when he was really a gifted photographer, but also a pioneer and entrepreneur. And that's always stuck with me, that line from Tom that, you know, adventures where the outcomes uncertain. And I guess that's something that I'm where I'm the least creative and when I'm the least happy is when it feels like Ground hog day. Yeah, you know what? I'm sort of I've done it and I'm doing it again. It's, you know, repetition. You know, I've learned that about myself. That I just need I need fresh experiences. Um, because I'm the best version of myself when they're fresh experiences, you know, I'm getting pushed and I'm having toe learn, and I'm sort of, you know, I don't have the answer at the outset at the onset. That's kind of the key for me. And so you know what? Snacks died. I know what it won't be. It won't be something that have already done. It will be trying. Teoh. I think I'm pretty excited about doing kind of more feature style dock work. Um, but I'm also a realist in that I know I can't drop everything else that I'm doing. And focus. Focus wholeheartedly. Do you love pain? Because doing something for the first time, I love doing things for the second and third time. Yeah. Fourth and fifth search to get tired first. Super painful. It's like time and Kabul breaking trail. Yeah, that's that's good that, you know, I've never thought about it that way. You know, I guess I I think you're right. It's probably this sweet spot. It's like, three or four times and the first time hurts. Yeah. This was an anomaly. It was having enjoying and enjoy. I did a book 20 years ago, and it was painful, really painful. So maybe I should own that. I was really painful years ago, and I learned a ton. So yeah, I think I do like the pain of the first experience because it's just it's so you're so alive in that experience. The second time you're smart, it 1/3 time like you've kind of got it down, and now it's about excellence. I always say that's why we get hired as professionals. It's not. I mean, I'm conscious of this all the time. There I can pointed 100 photographers and filmmakers that air way more gifted than me. I just see their raw talent oozing out. But that's only one part of why you get hired also, because we've made all of the mistakes and there high and you did not make a mistake. And so you know Yeah, I think the answer to the question is, you know, I'm I just love doing stuff that's new, and I think you might have identified something I should pay you for some therapy turns right. I think I do like suffering or but 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 you suffer. That's about testing yourself that, like the passion of engaging all of your skills and, you know, explorers, they have that as a you know, I think of, ah, my corn crossing the Arctic in winter like, bro, you got a good your sponsored by Mercedes, right? You could probably just tool around the South China Sea, as I have with you on your sailboat in the name of adventure, and find a way to, like, get plastic out of the ocean. But 70 days in the dark below for 40 below, right? Really? That, like you're choosing to do that, lose the tip of your nose and half of your fingers. And I mean, the more we do this stuff, the more you you do what you love, it's 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 and you know, when I'm just gonna bring it back to photography for a second I love when I go on a job like something doesn't go right or is planned, and you have to adapt. And it's that's like my favorite thing in the world is this sort of spontaneity and the, you know, the adapting and it's it's pressure. But it's like, you know, performing under that pressure is really fun. And I think that's why kind of intuitively, I'm always looking for that. Next thing is because it forces you just forces me into the best version of me. Yeah, there's a uh uh oh something that's coming to mind. As you say. That is the lens that I've learned the lived through is. It's not about avoiding mistakes. If you can get comfortable like my wife will lose her mind. If I'm going to 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, you know, and bobbing and weaving and and she's pasty white, staring at the back side 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 in that. Like, what can you rely on in a previous experience where when this happened, you did this and the, You know, whether it's the bear or the climbing incident or managing the client? Or I wonder if that resonates with beautiful like this ability to trust yourself. I feel like that's that version of that has come out of this book tour. I've always enjoyed sharing and teaching. It's why I have been involved with creative life. And you know that in a book tour, you have good book tour stops in your bad books first, and maybe the greatest gift of this book tour was like the bad booked worst up and I because it was really uncomfortable. It was really uncomfortable, and I bombed and I got nervous, and I and that's unlike me, like I'm comfortable speaking And but I walked away from it was in Boulder, Colorado was like the publisher warned me. They said, don't commit to doing bookstores. That was their number where they said bookstores air like they're just tough like bookstores are tough, but I was like dead set on Let's fill this one day in the middle of the calendar because I was already travelling and I knew as soon as I walked into this bookstore you know that everyone's heart was in the right place. But I walked in and I realized, you know, they want an author. There was a wooden chair like a rocking chair. The classic wouldn't and it was up on the stage and I said, Oh, but I'm going to show pictures like I'm gonna do a talk to pictures in this. Oh, no problem. We have a screen and out came a screen that was like twice the size of this table, you know, sort of, and I just instant and this is like an episode of the office of an animal, and the projector wasn't working and, you know, but But 150 people showed up for 100 people, and I 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 I I you know, I was I was telling my stories. It was still early in the book tour, and I still kind of getting my story down and then part way through the talk, the woman in the back is saying, like, wrap it up and I'm thinking I like I like getting started, right? Didn't you get the memo? This is gonna be an hour. And, uh and I wrapped it up. Really? And I remember just, you know, I'm just sweating and feeling awkward, but the great lesson was, I realized, No, I just own it like I just moving for that was like 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. That's that. It's like it's me and the people sitting in this audience and and it's 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, you know? Then your books the bookstore didn't have alcohol. And I realized, I think the next night that might have been Seattle, Ari. I like the next night and and that was and that was like the opposite. It was like a packed venue and people were psyched. And I remember I was so bummed that was out of town for it. And I was a new You're going to crush it. And it was. But, you know, it was just that lesson in you. But But you've got to fail. Yeah, like you've got a kind of bomb it and and I you know, 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, you know, that's that's kind of why I'm you. I crave people, crave doing new things, is kind of want to get as close to that edge so that occasionally, like bomb and then straight. Yeah, and and then you have that experience. Red said, Go cat. That won't happen. That won't happen again. Like that's I was just sitting on a plane chase. You'll appreciate this. I was flying home to Reno and flying into Reno. Usually, like one connection from L. A or San Francisco. And the guy sitting next to me was, um he was like, a works for one of these huge event planning companies Were you know, when they want to get together, 100 CEOs, they're the company that builds out these events and, you know, they put him and then, you know, we got to talking in the last 20 minutes of the flight and I said, You know, so you must bring in pretty amazing presenters. We got on the like in a presenter motivational speaker talk. And they're hiring the biggest players in the world, you know? And he's explaining it would Seinfeld. We just bring everybody in. And he said, You know, Obama is now on the market like you can get Obama like he's freshly on the market, and I asked because I think I'd you know, still, this Boulder event was in my head of bombing, and I said So you know, these guys getting paid huge money and he shared the numbers and, you know, it's for 40 minutes and they fly in and, like, do their stick 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 but And then and it hit me all at once. It's because they already did 20 years ago, somewhere along the line, you know, it's the same way you talk about photography. It takes a lot to surprise you been there, done that. You know, that's how it works for Seinfeld. Like he stood on enough stages. That's you know Obama did it for, you know, his presidency. And it was just It was a good lesson for me to hear this guy say, now, at that level, you don't you don't bomb. It's always might be better one night, but 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 film making, you don't you don't bomb at a certain level. It's just sometimes you're good and sometimes you're great. You're always driving for great. Well, thank you so much for being great on the show tonight. And, uh, so grateful that you made the journey always love you have having you here on ah on the show and on the creative life stage anywhere always welcome 100% no questions asked You get the itch, We're happy Thio, Thio Thio, collaborate! And, um, congratulations on the book for those again stories behind the images Cory Rich It's about photography, but it's about so much more. Um, what's the best? Any coordinates you want to steer people towards. You know, the easiest is just go to Amazon. Yeah, And we also have a website stories buying the images dot com. And I'm happy to sign any books in the lead up to the holidays. If you want it signed, go to stories by in the images dot com If you just wanted to get to your house, go to Amazon. You're not Amazon? No, you know, No. Appreciate you being on show, but thanks so much. And, uh, look for the next one already. Regimes. Thanks, Chase.
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