I could either talk about it, or do it.
So, I did it. I took time off.
Given that I make my living making photos of mountain sports, it might seem absurd that I’d want to take a break. But I did. Being a photographer is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is obvious: I work in the mountains making photos, and photos are fun to make. The curse is that I feel guilty when I see things I should be making photos of but don’t or can’t.
That guilt and pressure wears on a guy.
Following a very intense year both professionally and personally, I put my camera gear away and went climbing for a couple of months with the people who matter the most to me. When I returned home to the Alps I started training again, running, ski mountaineering and climbing. I didn’t think much about photos and almost completely ignored social media. I wouldn’t even read the news. I simply lived.
Looking back at the photos from this period, it’s strange to realize how used to visual record keeping I’ve become. Where we typically have a collection of beautiful images, this time around it is pretty limited to images of captured moments, in other words, normal – which for us isn’t necessarily normal. We don’t have much to show, but what we have in our memories is rich.
While I didn’t make many photos in the last five months, I did do a fair bit of office work to set up a great year. We’ve established yet another enormous trail running project and teamed back up with Patagonia, the brand that helped boost our careers. Oh! And we did build an all new website due to launch in the next weeks that will be the resource for trail and peak running in the Alps. (More on that coming soon.) Wait, it seems like I’ve been busy… truthfully, it’s been just the right amount of busy.
I knew my time would return to get behind the viewfinder. And so it has. It’s time to go back to work, and I’m as motivated as ever. First up, an assignment in Kyrgyzstan, then a month of shooting in the Alps, and then back to Nepal for a very cool running trip before our summer in the Alps kicks off in June.
Together with our partner Kim Strom, we’ll be adding more content here as she joins us for most every trip and project throughout the year. ALPSinsight is going to benefit from her energy in the form of gear reviews, stories, trip reports and randomness.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! And if you regularly follow along, again, thanks. We look forward to providing some inspiring content for you this year.
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Kyrchistan? You’re going with Stefan Siegrist & Co?
Hey John, nope, we’re shooting a ski story.
I’ve found taking breaks away from creating is key to artistic growth. Just like mountain sports, rest days make you stronger ! It gives you time to absorb, reflect, and grow. Stoked to see whats next. Get some.
Thanks Andy! Fully agree. But also like climbing, you fear time away and re-entry. But I’m back shooting now. Greets from Kyrgyzstan!