I’ve always been a big fan of things that flow, move, and function; things that just work. I give much weight to the words of thinkers like the late jazz bassist Charles Mingus: “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” And I would add that when motivated and talented people set out with a common goal, let nothing stand in their way.
Those mantras hit home recently when the talented crew over at Agency Misfit asked me to collaborate on a campaign for Drexel University. The plan was straight-forward: Photograph a dozen hyper-busy business leaders over a two day period, and rock each and every shoot. Fortunately for me, I was just a cog in the machine. Everyone around me, to a person, knew exactly what to do and when to do it. The result was more than a photoshoot, it was a meeting of like minds hell bent on cutting through the noise and laying hands directly on the signal.
A beautiful, awesomely simple signal.
Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run pioneer Gordy Ainsleigh photographed in the foothills of Northern California.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented photo editors and art directors a photographer could hope to collaborate with. But personal work is satisfying on a completely different level.
My wife, kids, and I were mid way down the length of California, en route to the Most Expensive Place on Earth, when an email came through from TrailRunner Magazine. They had picked up on an image I made of Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run pioneer Gordy Ainsleigh and were looking to lead a piece titled “Legends of the Trail” with it.
Needless to say, I was happy to be a part. But under the surface, there was a deeper sense of content. I had photographed Gordy months earlier not because I was paid to, or even asked to. I met with Gordy in a thicket of the Northern California foothills simply because it was the right thing to do.
Gordy was the first person to run the arduous 100 mile event on foot — back when it was strictly an equestrian event. And in under 24 hours. He is a true trail blazer, a man among men, and nothing short of a living legend. Gordy’s been photographed countless times. To have an image that I made purely out of respect for his iron will rise to the top on nothing but its own merit is deeply satisfying.
And cause to charge on.