In the modern world the old barriers that used to separate those that produced art from those that consumed it are breaking down. Technology is fuelling this, prices come down, tools get more powerful and the channels and the ability to share our work increase. That doesn’t mean that pros and amateurs are on the same level, not by a long way, but it does mean that the punter on the street is now often more interested in process in the hope that they can apply some of the lessons bestowed by experts to their own work, and make it beter.
In addition to the video interview, Simon provides some commentary on a selection of his recent steller images.
Garry Phillips on pitch two of his mega new route Live the Life (pitches are 21,28,27,27,26 and 25) at Lake Huntley, Tyndall Range in western Tasmania, Australia.
Nikon D3s with 14-24mm f2.8 lens @ 14mm, manual mode, 1/500 sec @ f8, ISO 200.
The Tyndalls are a place I’d long wanted to see, so when Garry and Jake completed their long-term project at Lake Huntley, one of the harder multipitches in the country, I was psyched to shoot it. The biggest hurdle for shooting (and climbing) in western Tasmania is the weather, so we watched the forecast all week and when it looked good I booked a flight at the last minute and flew down. That evening as we drove out west from Hobart it snowed, hmmm… We camped near the car and awoke to a stunning Saturday. Bingo! That arvo we shot the upper pitches, then on Sunday we started early and rapped right down to shoot the lower, harder pitches – and got this shot of Garry on the crux pitch. I was glad we got there early before the shadows elongated. I was hanging in space and really didn’t have too many options or angles to choose from – fighting just keep my shadow out of it and line things up the best I could. It was in early March and it turns out we’d scored the best weather all summer. On Monday, as I went back to the airport, in came the storms again. I was knackered, shattered, and struggling to comprehend the amount of work the lads had put in out there equipping and climbing the thing!
Brittany Griffith on Mr Clean (5.11a/22), one of the immaculate lines on Devils Tower, Wyoming, USA.
Nikon D3s with 14-24mm f2.8 lens @ 14mm, aperture priority, 1/400 sec @ f9, ISO 400.
The first time I photographed this route was back in 2003 for The North Face. I was happy with that shot – and considering we snuck it in, in a ten-minute blast of light squeezed between a hailstorm and sunset, I was actually pretty stoked. But Devils Tower’s geometry is so striking it left me wondering – could there be a better way to show it? The answer was obvious – get the camera further out from the cliff. But how? I had the image I wanted in my mind for years, and I mulled over the problem from time to time. In 2006 I returned to Devils Tower but there was no chance to shoot due to big snowstorms. Still, just staring at the Tower again got me psyched to try to figure out the problem. So I bought some bits and pieces from a camera shop in Boulder, and got a painter’s pole, and later on that trip (at Red River Gorge) played with ways to rig it all – and get the camera to hang down below the pole (so it wasn’t just shooting straight down). I got some results then too – though I had to guess what the camera was seeing as I was shooting on film back then. It was four years before I was able to return to Devils Tower but by then I had refined the system and was shooting digital – and had a video feed running from the camera to a little monitor so I see the composition. For this shot I was able to get the camera about eight metres out from the cliff. I was really stoked this time!
Adrian Laing on his Arch Enemy (27), the Birdcage at Porters Pass, Blue Mountains, Australia.
Nikon D3s with 14-24mm f2.8 lens @ 24mm, manual mode, 1/400 sec @ f5, ISO 200.
We had already photographed a neighbouring route that morning and were running out of time for this one. The cloud was breaking up and when the sun came out, the light was harsh and contrasty. So I had to make a quick decision where to abseil in and stick to it. There weren’t many options though, the wall is very overhanging and I had to rap down an existing route to that I could swing in and clip the end of my rope to a bolt – otherwise I’d be swinging around wildly in space. It’s a wall that hadn’t been photographed much before so I decided to shoot wide and show it and the setting – one pitch up and with the belayer.
Stay up to date with Simon’s work at http://www.onsight.com.au
See more of VL’s favourite filmmaker Brett William’s work at http://www.sidetrip.com.au