Friday, September 27, 2013

a part of jacob has officially died (to make room for others things)

I quit Facebook just now, down below you can read why.

"Please don't assume prejudice. After an eye opening stay in china, a place whose government regulates western media, i was subject to a facebook free existence. i came to the conclusion that the only 'gratifying' or rewarding element that translates to the real world is a summation of pixels representing something so natural (actual human interaction.) i am not questioning authenticity but simply pointing out that this 'currency' is not something i longer wish to trade in. But I've realised the power of facebook's ability to expose and, in the sense of my photos, I know that it's a must have, which led to a pretty straight forward ultimatum. I'm going to deactivate this account and continue on facebook with a fan page so i can hopefully bring some enjoyable visuals to people in a more accessible medium than my blog or my flickr (because facebook is making us all lazier) and to benefit my stoke.

I was concerned that i'd be out of the 'loop' but there are very few loops that I actively engage in on a regular basis and almost all of them exist outside of this medium.. i have a phone, i have an email address, so do you all, and if we're too lazy to send an email or a phone message than it looks live we've reality tunnelled ourselves outta each others doings. I'm bummed that i wont be able to talk nonsense and have fun, because Facebook can definitely be fun. But, being able to see someone smile or frown or look intrigued will always outweigh a calculated and carefully considered internet response which often lands incorrectly. This notion of calculation and misrepresentation put me in the most difficult situation of my entire life and presented a reality check that i'd not, until now, allowed myself to accept (due to the fear of losing contact with all you rad people.) The internet grants everyone knowledge to everything we as a race know but wisdom is what i crave and wikipedia will always be by my side to help me in my quest.

who knows what will happen, i might be lured back in once again, Facebook might fall just like myspace did (seems improbable but maybe we'll wizen up to identity pseudo-theft?) but this is how i feel now, existence is instantaneous and nothing else. i'm excited to have to deal with being bored!! Because I need to concentrate on the production of photos, a task that I will be perpetually unable to complete, but it's a fun task nontheless. 

if you read this far, fuck yeah, and instead of looking at my Facebook page, go to my blog (hi ;) ).. it's way more better." 

i don't really know what else to say as i aimed for that to cover it all so i've attached some photos from Cunnumulla, the most isolated place I've ever been.





and some photos of mountains, because they are the real reason why i quit facebook (in order to be in them at all times)



Monday, September 16, 2013

seretonergic fun times of the past

a while ago my buddy Kurt caught wind of a little expedition that myself and some pals undertook whilst travelling in South America last year..  The story stoked him out and he asked me to write it up, it ended up getting printed in Heelside as a sort of pseudoscientific report on subjective goodness, tricky at the best of times, but I love ranting (it was supposed to be 500 and i wrote 1700)...  I shot a bunch of photos throughout the day and they're all scattered down below.  I shot the entire thing in a roll of kodak colourplus200 except for the night/very last photo (digital) .. Here is what i ended up sending, minus the editing/grammar/proofing, which I left to them....


so i'm 23 years old, i've done some things in my time, but I haven't been on this earth for long and I don't consider myself overly wise, or one to properly assess outcomes of decisions before i make them, but i've come this far (yew) and slowly my ability to consider consequences is catching up to my ability to get excited far too easily.  I think it's a good thing in the sense that i've still got plenty of breathing to do, touch wood, but I'm all about the fun times and it was the desire for fun times that sent me to south america last year.  It was the fun times that saw me and my 2 travel buddies find our way to one of the smallest towns in the most isolated parts of south america, high up in the bolivian alti-plano, crafting mescaline with two relative strangers in a place that they claimed to be frequented only by lost goats. 

that one.


Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychoactive chemical occurring in a variety plants, predominantly cacti, which grow natively throughout the world.  For the most part mescaline, and the producing flora, have been outlawed by most countries however, because of it's "sincere religious intent", it is specifically exempt from regulation.  Wherever the cacti can be found cultures have adopted mescaline into their lives as they believe the psychedelic effects are conducive to introspection and healing.  For this rant I'm going to concentrate on one species of cactus (as all cacti containing mescaline present a vastly different experience), one part of the world and one set of beliefs as I've not the insight to provide for all.


The cactus I am concerned with is the San Pedro, a species native to the high altitudes of the Andes, spanning from ecuador to chile and argentina and is deeply tied to the beliefs of Pachamama, which has adopted it because it's of value as a spiritual tool and as traditional medicine for both human and animals.  Pachamama, or Mother Earth, is one of two benevolent deities that exist in Incan mythology.  She is the goddess of the earth's fertility and can be roughly translated to our Mother Nature, with less perceived maliciousness.   In Incan Mythology, Pachamama is concerned with the constant cycle of life and death, specifically that everything came from the ground and everything will return to the ground.  

Zoberto, part time shaman, full time rad dude.


I'm not an expert but could it be argued that these organised beliefs were a result of mescaline and the shamanistic past (and present) of South America?  I say this because the various aspects pertaining to a San Pedro trip seem to lend themselves to the idea of Pachamama, most affirmatively being that shortly after consuming the broth you begin to feel ill in the stomach, very ill.  So ill that you become overwhelmed with an emergency evac of your stomach's contents via both routes, which to me seems very aligned with the idea that all things from the earth (the food that I'd eaten that morning) will return to the earth.   


This particular journey started at a small town in a desert in the deep south of Bolivia.  Myself and two buddies had travelled here to film a music video for Gold Coast band The Tijuana Cartel.  We went there on a whim, chasing the gloriously cheap production cost that one can find in such depths.  This town was chosen thanks to it's grand canyon-esque sandstone terrain, proliferation of cacti, everyone in the village can ride a horse and my buddy had managed to contact some locals willing to partake in the clip and It was these 2 chaps that suggested the possibility of going deep into the sandstone to take some cactus after the filming was done. 


We left the town around lunch time, we found ourselves a 3 hour walk from town, on a river bed at the base of 40 meter sandstone cliffs and began to walk upstream until we found one of their favourite zones, which they've been frequenting weekly for the last 25 years.  One of these chaps, Zoberto, is a legitimised shaman, apparently he attended shaman-school, and it was not long after dumping our bags that he found an ideal candidate for consumption.  We processed the plant in a ceremonious fashion that took us 3 hours to de-thorn, skin the plant, remove the goodies and boil them up into the most foul smelling liquid I've been unfortunate enough to sample.  It tasted just as bad and fuelled all sorts of gag reflexes, my eyes were watering and my mouth was salivating (not due to my excitement to consume…)  After we consumed we set off to the sensei, a monolithic spire that explodes from the stone, casting a silhouette of the most typical samurai outline one could imagine.  


The 20 minute walk to the sensei's feet was filled with excitement as I was in one of the most beautiful places i've ever witnessed, I had a fantastic crew of buddies and a crystal quartz cave bed awaiting me, I was comfortable in this environment and I that was definitely key in the success of this mission. Upon ascension of the sensei, a steep, sandy and slippery wall, I began to feel ill, my stomach felt heavy and around the same time that I began to sweat (maybe due to the intense climbing whilst cocooned in my desert-nights approved llama poncho) I began to witness the major characteristic of the San Pedro fun. 


Walking on feet and hands up this cliff I began to be intrigued by my depth perception, the distance between my eyes, my hands, my feet and the ground underneath me became irrelevant.  I felt as if everything existed in the lens of my eye, my hands were seemingly gliding through the earth, my hands too.  The illness became more incapacitating, my stomach was growing heavier but luckily the last 20 meters of ascent were but mere centimetres away!  Eventually we reached the summit, which is actually the foot of the sensei, and began to flip out as to the beauty that lay before me, regardless of recent ingestion of a misc psychotropic.  In the vista that lay before me I could enjoy the endless sandstone abyss that held us,  the San Juan Del Oro river bed, beyond that the Andes, generally the Bolivian Altiplano and some very pleasant clouds, all at the tip of my nose in extreme high definition. 


 About 1 hour since the onset of the nausea I began to feel it recede and the contrast in feeling from being terribly ill to being EXTREMELY comfortable with absolutely is the point in which I began to feel this attachment to the earth that I'd been told of.  The holistic sense of relativity to the earth and the environment is the major spiritualistic component to the drug, San Pedro is not psychedelic like psylicibin or LSD nor is it manipulative of your thought, aside from the connection with Pachamama and the depth perception intrigue, which to sum up is feeling good about the yourself by becoming perfectly comfortable with your minute existence within the massive scope of all things that exist.  I felt lucky because I had not fallen victim to the vomiting and defecation that generally follows ingestion, I felt like I could have but Zoberto a few days earlier advised a strict precursor diet of bread, fruit and vegetables.  



  The sun was setting as we all overcame the nausea and we decided to head back to the cave for food before setting off on a night-time caving adventure..   I don't know if confidence is a subsidiary affect or if it was due to our guides being such rad dudes but feeling our way down a 1 meter wide slit in the earth seemed pretty casual, or perhaps mumma earth had our backs.  It was hard to concentrate on footing when glints of moonlight flickering through this prehistoric landmasses' quartz encrusted stomach but we were moving slow/so stoked it casj.  As we penetrated the depths of this 50 meter clump of sandy/rockey goodness it began to get colder, more damp and the thin strip of dirt that held our feet had given way to wet sand, an ideal contrast to the desert's temperate fury we'd been sampling all day long.   


The only point of concern was the moment (both of them) when I had to jump into the abyss over a waterfall in order to keep descending, not that the jumping itself was the problem but its pretty hard to climb back up waterfalls and say the next waterfall was of an un-jumpable height,  we were pretty toast… but I figured these guys had walked down here before.  As I popped out of this urethra of the earth into a gaping chasm, that seemingly began in a single point (the slit that we exited) and immediately opened up at 35ยบ and 50 meters high.  The change in space was a bit of a wig, everything seemed to quiet and, for the first time since we partook, far away.  Quickly i readjusted and the sense of retina based existence was once again a situation.

I was very fortunate have been somewhat ceremoniously involved in a San Pedro adventure with 4 lovely people in some of the most idyllic surroundings I've be lucky enough to set foot in.  I imagine taking this drug in your house would be extremely unrewarding due to the non-presence of Pachamama's sweet bosom.  I was experiencing San Pedro until I feel asleep eight or nine hours after we had began.  When I woke, the effects of San Pedro were all but gone yet I'd gained an everlasting sense of connectedness with the stuff under my feet and when I cast a thought towards how ludicrously small I am amongst all of this, I feel content knowing that all of my bits will eventually return to Pachamama and she will, hopefully, cast me back out into the world as an eagle… We discussed it, I think it's fine…


p.s. remember adventure, forget coffins.

our bedroom, this is the only digital image as hi-iso film stocks are not something bolivia do, ever, but thankfully Reuben had his camera on him.


Monday, September 9, 2013

happy days for lamby

here lies a rant of gargantuan introspection as a means of marking a time I figure to be hugely pivotal, in both stuff, my existence and my headspace, these ideas are personal but are on this blog because it is mine and it serves as a journal for me.  We all have different ideals and I learnt a while ago that aiming to please people is not a powerplay, probably the reason for my rants becoming less frequent and more about myself than a particular adventure or completely miscellaneous bullshit.  

i feel overly lucky, in the sense that lately i've been achieving my goals without any of the life moves i'd been led to believe were necessary, mainly university, hard work (i'm pretty lazy) and i feel like there are things that have made getting to where i am now, easier.. the old adage of  'who you know' etc etc…  Our society seems to perceive success on how difficult the journey to success was, personally I feel like the difficulty deserves praise but it does not affect my definition of success, as success to me is about enjoying myself 100% of the time and all i care about is enjoying the 'journey'…… therefore i am perpetually successful so long as i'm not crying myself unnecessary tears and I am proud of what i've achieved regardless of the difficulty of the journey, because i am once again happy every single day.   I did some dumb things last year and it led to a loss of self, in the sense that i lost the ability to have fun every single day. Luckily for me, somewhere along the line, I set my personal standard for contentedness quite 'low' thus stoking myself out with minimal effort/qualm.  For me, the journey is the defining factor in life/my photo making because i believe that being a photographer is 40% about making lovely photos….  It's the other 60%  that i've been trying to figure out for a long time (not suggesting that i've come anywhere near perfecting the aforementioned 40% by any stretch of the imagination) but it's this 60% that can't be learnt by taking lots of photos or going to uni or anything other than my own thoughts and experiences…  How this translates into my photography? i am not sure, as i am not the audience, but i figure being positive and motivated helps a great deal.  When i lost my positivity i lost everything i enjoyed and no longer liked myself, it was crap, motivation was also no longer an emotion that i could feel.  The immense personal change i went through last year, albeit tears, was the perfect reality check for that majority percentage and it now seems like it wasn't all a huge waste of happiness/time/saline because since then i've been sent to many corners of this planet, met countless rad people and witnessed an ideal amount of beauty doing what i consider to be the best job in the world and feel more motivated than ever before in my life.


This most recent trip has concreted my hopes and dreams of finally becoming a proper legit photographer and concrete is were i plan to keep it until i don't want to do it anymore, i know i am not at all near what i consider to be a proper pro fot maker and that excites me because, as i just said, it's about the journey and the comforting thought is that there is an infinite amount of journeys out there…  I think what brought me here, not specifically on this return flight from this USA/Canada trip, but the fact that the most rewarding thing in my life right now is exploration/adventure but for the sake of this rant, it's looking at something beautiful, pushing the shutter of my camera and seeing what i fantasised in my mind..  this alone opens more doors than any hookups could ever open… motivation is all there really is!  I think my stubbornness was probably also a huge factor in getting to where i am today as there are so many paths/jobs/journeys that i'd enjoy but those weren't what I dreamt of, if i'd stuck out any one of the 5 separate attempts i made at completing a university degree then i definitely wouldn't be here right now,  nor would i be as prepared for life as i am now..  I'm very much of the opinion that life preparedness is key to all thing, not preparedness for a particular profession.   Jobs can be taught and learnt through demonstration and repetition, life shit has to be done by you and you only because we all live in different reality tunnels.

This, the idea of perpetual contentedness/happiness,  is why i shoot digital and this is why my almost monthly forays into film are short lived.  I love the aesthetic uniquity,  the coolness, the feeeeel and the surprise of getting photos back but when i shoot digital i witness, shoot, analyse and move on to something better or completely different, I don't like reviewing after i've made my judgement on the image that has appeared in front of me because, when i dump my shots into the shop, it's like picking up film because i've forgotten the specifics of images created.   For me, the gratification of imagining something and getting it right then and there far outweighs the surprise of getting a roll of film back.  Don't get me wrong, i love to spray and pray..  i did a downhill run in Spokane with my camera, it's 7 minutes, up to 80km/h, 7 of us on the hill and i shot about 300 photos. I could've shot about 3000 in those 7 minutes if i really sprayed but thats quite possibly the silliest thing thats come to mind, ever.. or perhaps it is whats on my leg(definitely not)..  Anyway, spray/pray is casj, you get what you need, in the end i was flown across the world to fulfil a task, a task for a client that put their faith in me to play with skateboards and look at beautiful shit, and there is no way i'm going to potentially fail because of silly self-righteousness.  On the other hand, sometimes I'll see something, a corner with a perfect frame, vertically cascading mountains casting rays of light of such thickness you can't see through them, flowers, trees, clouds, the sun and you'll tell your buddy to hit the corner and have fun, they do it, they're stylish, they have fun and you get the shot, one and done.  The photos that happen first time and just as I'd hoped are easily the most rewarding thing for me, but on the other hand, if i go on a trip with someone who has employed me to be there and I take a total of 5 photos, regardless of how epic they may be or how many they plan to use, said employer is not going to be stoked,.  Imagine paying a painter a weeks worth of dollars to paint your house and they do it in 1 day?  Sure you might like the result, it might even be the best paintjob ever, but why pay them for time that they weren't doing shit?  well you should've given them more things to do ;)  but that's beside the point…


I still have self-righteous desires and much cynicism towards certain aspects of photography/photos and that's all well and good but at the end of the day, as much as we may wish to deny such truths, getting people to pay you for photos is because there is an audience and it's the audience's ideals that will determine your future.  which is shit, i know photographers that take better photos than all of us and they'll never work as a photographer, partly due to style but mostly due to who is looking at it, and then there are those that manage a lifetime of photowork, much to my confusion… aaah, the internet and it's infinite potential for glory (with a dash of tears)

I recall a time when I didn't even want to put my name on my photos because i felt like it detracted from the image (also, I was not proud of my photos but now i don't care, if i like it i'll show it). and then a photo i took, without my name on it, got around 4million views and that was obviously a catalytic game changer for the best.  From then on everything got better for me, not because of that photo (because no one knew who took it), or that i started putting my name on it, but because I took my photos off the pedestal and replaced the stool with a bucket of desire to be better at taking photos, not taking better photos….  A powerplay in the book of lamb and hopefully something that might make some sense to y'all. 

I can't even being to type my thoughts and feels about this trip i have just concluded, it was so long, so intriguing, so varied, so rad, so beautiful and at times very very challenging but i gained more insight into what I am trying to achieve than i thought was possible in such a short time (50 days).  yes i just said it was long, yes i just said short time, but i've got a whole life (touch wood) worth of exploring this medium and my biggest fear is that my skill will not keep up with my mind and the shutter-based gratification that i desire so dearly will dwindle and die.  Such is life and i'll figure shit out as i go anyway.. There are so many epic jobs out there it's ridiculous, tell me about being a park ranger in some miscellaneous capsule of nature and it's potential beauty/hideousness?!  or bringing stoke to people with menial tasks, like driving a bus.


This trip was also when i realised the importance of external harddrives and how much i've been kooking it by not carrying multiples at all times..  Not because i lost photos, this trip has been my most successful yet in regards to that, but because there is no worse thing than standing in front of a shot that is sick, when there are multiple people putting themselves at risk for you and you look at your camera and it says Card slot 1 and 2 full and you can't delete anything on either card because you've not saved them anywhere….  I don't ever use my SD card for storing photos, until this trip.. and thats not what i want it for.  i could get some more cards but they're easy to lose and i lose things easily..  like pat schep's tent and sleeping bag, which i untied from the roof for no reason and forgot to tie it back down, almost 400 dollars later i told myself to not forget shit, for the nth time ever.    I managed to by a harddrive yesterday so i was able to bring back all the shots i took, as i had to keep dumping them on someone else's external and then delete them off my computer… a dangerous, dangerous manoeuvre which is now forever solved!!

Also i learnt for the 6th time that i should never ever travel without a credit card… this instance was a new one, i was paid a lump sum into my papal account, which caused paypal to lock my account thus making all of my money, which i needed to survive, inaccessible until returning to aus,  because they need bulk identification in order to believe that the paypal is actually mine.   that was a game changer, caused bulk tears and much anguish.. thankfully yatedawg is one of the greatest humans out and was keen to hold it down for me.   but is also why i am sitting on this plane right now, instead of having another 10 days of glory in one of the most epic environments on earth.    Which kinda worked out well because I am off to China on the 16th so I would've had to have come back early anyway…  yes, China!!  It's not going to be a long trip, more of a base toucher (as there is a 3 day longboard festival involving everything but downhill) and mission of minor exploration/cultural insight.  I want to travel around china extensively, i've found many things i wish to see but it's kinda deep in the sense of laws/visas etc..  I found out, much like Russia, that to acquire a Visa you need to be invited, on top of that you need separate Visas between provinces, but i have a feeling for Australians it might be casj… all i am certain of is that i need to do more research.  There are other places that pique more of my fancy however…


My game has been changed, not only in all the life and photography nonsense i was talking about before but in that i met so many epic new people from all over the world, mostly canadians but a lot of people travel to canada..  The lifestyle over there, mostly due to the likeminded individuals that i was blessed to be hanging out with, is the most ideal thing in my mind…  Epic crew, the most epic mountains for hiking, snow and skateboarding, babes, generally lovely people, delicious food and Landyachtz.  Landy hold it down, they've shown me potential that i never thought existed, not just in that they like my photos and are happy to pay me and send me places but they also put me on their skate team.  I want to be a pro longboarder, obviously, but on the other hand i don't want skating to be about anything other than having fun, experiencing a hill whistle being well within my limits, the consequences of hurtling down blind corners at 100km/h are obvious and there are so many other things out there that I would also like to enjoy in my life..   Being crippled terrifies me and I am happily leaning back in my chair, comfortable with the fact that I don't want/have the balls to push myself to misc levels of stupidity, but, even though being super gnarly might be more enjoyable, it's only because of adrenaline.   I am not relying on adrenaline as, for now, the simple pleasure of riding a board gets me moist..  Adrenaline is obviously still a big factor but I don't want it to control me and anyone that tells you adrenaline is not addictive has never truly experienced it.

I'm going to stop ranting here as I could definitely keep ranting forever and ever.  Here is a smattering of misc photos.

down to the left (just out of frame) lies a road (old 95) that, if paved semi-acceptably, would be one of the greatest hills in the world.  unfortunately it isn't at all acceptably paved but even still, it's a lovely place to skaybod








Twin Falls immediately piqued my attention for some reason but i could not put my finger on it!  But at the moment I started thinking about something else it came to me.  A title of a track from one of my first favourite bands ever!!  Listen here  I was under the assumption he/Doug Martsch/most epic musician ever was bought up there (due to the tearful lyrics) but i later found out he's from Boise, which we also visited.  yeow.


I was blessed enough for my trip to have fallen around the time of a Maryhill Freeride event.  Maryhill is the first road that I ever wanted to skate, during a time that any hill proved to be challenging and the idea of trying to go as fast as I could was not yet a thought.  Maryhill is not super quick or super gnarly but it's super perfect and seems to be best experienced in a freeride environment.   Doing 15+ runs a day down the most idyllic pavement in the world with 20 buddies and 80+ strangers/soon to be buddies will forever warm my heart and moisten my stoke glands.  I still can't get over it.  The landscape contained immense beauty both in it's natural glory but also the human interference.   There are turbines everywhere you look, train tracks everywhere else and, to me, everything burns of the old West/American Frontier.


Part of Maryhill's lower section.


The Columbia River.






this kitty, named Boba, was a proper alley cat in the sense it sampled all houses that backed onto it's alley.  In vancouver it seems that, for the most part, every house has an alley behind it.. making for ideal skate times and kitty love


Camilo!  I didn't get to hang with this dude much but hopefully that day will be soon


this dog ambushed our car, the brown one that is


tranq times in the depths


Built to Spill were the first band I truly got into (2004/5 i geuss) and probably directed my music taste to this day.  I've seen them live twice and both times were shocking (the good kind) for vastly different reasons and the occurred within a day of each other.  They played Peats Ridge in 2010 and then the next evening they played at the Zoo.  Peats Ridge was also the last time my hair was cut, not because of BTS, but maybe, they're a powerful thing to watch.   Truly talented musicians are always delightful to watch.