“Hashish? You want hashish?” These were my welcoming words as I dismounted my bike in the city of Chefchaouen, Morocco. I survived the last 24 hours due to the kindness of a stranger, trusting my intuition, and keeping fear at bay—all so I could be in this place, the jewel of my journey, The Blue City. Visually beautiful and nestled in the heart of the Rif Mountains, it was a place that grew in size during the 15th century with the arrival of Moriscos and Jews who were exiled from Spain. The city walls and streets were painted blue in the 1930’s to represent the sky and water. I had finally arrived, but due to previous circumstances I had no plan, no map, and no idea where I was going. In my book that means a welcome challenge, opportunity, and the chance to see a story unfold before my eyes.
When you are driven by the curiosity of adventure, you find yourself with a vault of stories quickly scratched down in tattered journals or an SD card filled with the potential of that next great photo essay. Last year when I started Taiga Creative, I chose to work with artists who share this same curiosity. I’ve found it to be the unifying thread that runs through the core of each one of us. This month, I’ve selected photos from each artist along that thread. Photos driven by curiosity and the nature of exploration.
This mini series from Shea Evans, my resident food photographer, came about when he was traveling down to Santa Barbara from San Francisco, CA for a photo shoot and took a last minute detour to an organic farm by the ocean. As a food photographer, Shea likes to dig deeper behind the final delicacy. This farm has been in business since the 1800s and supplies dairy products to restaurants in San Francisco. The full essay is part of a personal project of Shea’s, documenting a final gourmet dish from the farmer to the market to the chef who uses the product locally in the Bay Area. The curiosity to dig deeper behind an image can happen even a mere days drive from home.
The newest addition to my roster, P2 Photography made up of Jenna and Jon, sent over this image from their recent trip to Jordan. I was immediately drawn to this photo of their Bedouin guide in southern Jordan based on the story behind their motivation for the trip. Jenna explained, "I prefer to visit places that are difficult, whether that be logistically, culturally, or simply somewhere that doesn't immediately present a lot of easily accessible attractions. This kind of travel encourages me to interact with locals and this always leads to fresh perspectives." A spot on description of what drives our curiosity, I couldn't have said it better myself.
Here I've selected a couple images from HagePhoto because it was too difficult to pick just one, since the foundation of their subject matter, literally, is seeking out the next great adventure and having a hell of a lot of fun doing it. HagePhoto claim to be "professional baggage handlers" due to their extensive world travel, and to the rest of us, they specializes in adventure/travel photography. Both of these images hail from our home state of Alaska. The first of a backpacker crossing a ravine in Wrangell - St Elias National Park and the second from the summit of O'Malley Peak in Chugach State Park.
I've selected these last two images by Gabe Rogel, for their stark difference in subject and emotion. What I love most about Gabe's adventurous style is the ability to incorporate creative and borderline abstract images among his other more commercial or editorial shots. Pictured above I've chosen an image that conveys the calm anticipation before heading out on a backcountry ski trip in Isafjordur, Northwest Fjords, Iceland. The other, a dramatic perspective of a mountain biker on the Lithium Trail at Teton Pass in Wyoming. Is your curiosity sparked yet?
Onward and upward!