Finding More than Yourself on the Appalachian Trail.
You can call me Click! – My Introduction
It’s been almost two months since I summited Katahdin and finished my NOBO thruhike on the AT. For some it marks the end of one journey, for me it’s just the beginning. Looking back now I realize everything in my life has changed. I was never really interested in hiking growing up, I went backpacking a few times and always thought I was going to die from a bear, wolf, or something scary in the dark.
In 2012 I graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design where I obtained a BFA in filmmaking. I don’t think I’m alone here, but after college I pretty much thought I was going to take over Hollywood and be a feature film director by the ripe age of 23. After a week long visit to Los Angeles, California I realized that was pretty much the opposite of what was about to happen. As an artist I always thought of my camera as my paint brush, but after graduating I realized my canvas was quickly shrinking and my dream seemed further and further away.
Three years after graduating I found myself on the AT, 975 miles into my thruhike. So many have photographed the trail before me, and done it quite well. I wasn’t interested in doing it better, I just wanted to do it different. One month before I started I still wasn’t sure what kind of project I should do along the trail. I was already stepping completely out of my comfort zone by going forward with the hike, I figured why not shake it up even more. I sold both of my DSLR’s and opted for a few old film cameras that I had absolutely no idea how to use. (Thanks Youtube!) It ended up being the best decision I ever made.
When I started hiking I was in search of who I am as an artist. The Appalachian Trail was the perfect place to push my photography to another level and find what I was looking for. It meant a lot to me that I was able to surround myself with my work on a daily bases, and I quickly became inspired by the trail and people around me.
I remember the first time I sent a few rolls of film home to be developed, I just wanted to make sure the images were turning out the way I imagined. I was sitting at this little desk at a motel in Gatlinburg using a computer running windows 98 downloading one picture at a time. When I saw those first scanned negatives popped up on the screen, that was when I knew I was in the right place doing the right project.
Everyone hikes and enjoys the outdoors for different reasons, for me I can finally say I feel at home when I’m in the woods with my camera. Now looking forward, I see my canvas is as big as its ever been, as I go from one trail to the next. I’m currently preparing to shoot my next project on film as I thruhike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016 and I can’t wait to blog about it here! #hikertrash
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