The loss of friends carries a message. Death has the ability to teach us to live.
In the last months I have seen death in the mountains. I have been both witness to it as well as removed, watching from afar as its effect sweeps through a community of friends and family.
I have sifted through others thoughtful words after the loss of Shane McConkey, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash, Wade Johnson and two men whom we watched taken in an avalanche. There is always consistency; life is to be lived, and if in so doing one is lost, at least life was had. As a mountain person, I understand the risk inherent in the opportunity to feel tremendous joy for living within so much beauty. Loss can strengthen love by serving as a reminder the importance of appreciating the present, both for people and experiences. Jeremy Collin’s eloquent letter to Jonny Copp is a perfect summary of what I feel.
Each day I must go through our photography. In it we have a collection of memories. The nature of the way Janine and I work is to document what we do. At an early point in our careers, we made the decision that our work is less about “photo shoots” and more about shooting photos, of our lives as people who greatly enjoy being in the mountains with each other and all of our amazing friends. In our own work I see why we do what we do, it gives us life, strengthens our love, builds our characters and teaches us about the natural world and our place within it.
And so I have looked through some of our work and identified those photos that are of experiences that have made us better as people, images of perfect moments that have shaped who we are. Ironically, the most memorable, are from climbing in the mountains. Climbing can be frightening, dangerous, and difficult. But because of this, the rewards are some of the greatest . We can all identify with the emotions coming from friends of people lost. To carry on the lessons is how we can enrich others as well as ourselves, and turn something so tragic into something life giving.
Below are a few images that come from experiences that gave us life.