Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sit down with Henry Brydon from 'We Are Explorers'

Last week I sat down with Henry Brydon from 'We Are Explorers' to chat about downhill and it's inherently exploratory nature.  I've included a transcript below but I suggest reading it on the site, it's all dolled up and has a bunch of pictures.


Jacob Lambert travels at 100kmph on a small piece of wood down very long, very steep roads in some of the most beautiful locations around the world. At 26 years old, this Brisbanite is cut from a very different cloth to most of us, and we caught up with him to find out why we should all try (and probably love) longboarding.
So firstly, how did you get into longboarding?
I’ve spent most of my life skating a traditional skateboard but it wasn’t until mid 2008 that I first started noticing the downhill stuff. At the time I worked at a rad surf/skate shop in the Gabba and we started seeing some interest in the gear and by the time we were getting in stock I was totally hooked.


Billy, Troy and Dillon drop into the most technical of Transalpina's plethora of run.

What do you love so much about this hobby?
There’s a lot of intense feelings involved with riding a board down a mountain and I feel the adrenaline was what got me initially, but as i started to ride more and in different locations my joy shifted towards faster lines, better style and a mentality that is best said as ‘skate to skate tomorrow’ and it was then that I truly began to love it.
The notion that you’re battling gravity and if you can control it, you win, gives me a very holistic sense of reward, contentedness and stoke.  Here you’ve got gravity and a skateboard without a brake and if you send yourself down a hill without the ability to control your speed you will maybe die in the first corner, but getting to the point where you know (even without seeing the hill) you can roll down it and, short of unforeseeable disaster you’re going to make it down safely is an incredibly empowering feeling. It took skating a 33 hairpin, 20 minute run in the Italian Alps to first really understand that feeling. However, I definitely do not recommend blind runs, you never know if there’s gonna be a wet patch in a corner that’ll send you off a cliff, or a pack of tree loppers felling logs on the road, like in Korea one time D:

Where are some of the best spots you’ve skated in Australia?
That’s a tough one. The most memorable spots are generally so because of the scenario, not just the road itself, but if i had to say it’d be Kangaroo Valley south of Sydney.  The Snowy Mountains [both NSW and VIC] have some epic roads but they pale in comparison to the surrounding scenery!!  Brisbane city and it’s surrounding coasts have some of the gnarlier roads around but it’s situational, lots of driveways and blind corners. It’s danger riding so the adrenaline runs thick.


And internationally?
I can narrow down it to 2 roads.  The first is a road deep in the wild wild west- about 4 hrs from Seattle or 2 from Portland- along the Columbia river in Washington State called Maryhill Loops Road.  Most of us may recognise the road through car adverts but this road is so much more than a picturesque piece of bitumen.  The road was built in 1912, it was the first road built west of the Mississippi and an experiment into construction mountain passes.  The road has 3 brief straights but apart from that it’s seemingly infinite corners, with perfect camber and apices, it’s gradient varies barely +/- 1º and there’s not a downhill skater that could’ve dreamt something radder. It’s truly special, and it’s a museum so it’s shut to the public!
Although Maryhill may be the perfect downhill road i was lucky to travel through Romania last year and there we found the Transalpina, not to be mistaken with Top Gear’s favourite road [the Transfăgărășan]. The Transalpina is essentially 6 different runs on the one road, it winds up from forested valley until well above the tree-line in the depths of Carapathian Mountains.  Picture lunar like landscapes, endless peaks, wolf packs and a road so perfect I’d be happy to skate nothing else.


Any dream locations on the hit list?
There’s a road in Japan, it prompted myself and 3 others to go hunting for it in 2013 but we were hoaxed due to residual winter but it’s the most novelty looking stretch of switchbacks ever (it’s got about 40 repeating switchbacks and a Shinto Shrine on top). Although we didn’t get to ride that one,  we did get to skate the Initial-D road, Irohazaka, but it was wet and the potential to slide under a guard rail and off the cliff was pretty real. We ended up waiting 3 days for the rain to pass, but it never did.

So what’s the fastest you’ve travelled on a longboard?
It’s hard to tell and generally it feels like you’re doing about 30kms more than you actually are but i’ve skated some hills in the states with reported speeds of over 100kms/h.  There’s a couple around Brisbane and the GC too.

Which leads me to my next question: wipeouts. You must have had a fair few over the years?
Oh yeah, it’s the nature of the beast really. Of course none of us actually wanna crash but it’s this thought that sits in the back of your head which makes bombing hills on skateboards produce such crazy elation. Narrowly avoiding a crash is kinda the best bit because at the end of the day we’re all adrenaline junkies.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky in my time; i’ve stacked a bunch, fractured a few fingers, maybe an ankle and i’ve hit a few cars but never gone under them or had a serious injury. I started riding in 2008 and it was between then and 2013 that i bricked myself most regularly. In 2013 I began to take the photo side seriously and since then i’ve regained notions of self-preservation. Moving into the photo side of things was a major power play because I realised that being the photographer meant I got to go on all the trips! Instead of having to battle with riders that are better than me, plus it meant i got paid!!


Yatedawg on the Bruneau Dunes

Any standouts?!
I used to live on a hectically steep street, about 30% and the 4th steepest street in Brisbane – it was were I started to really get into doing skids and began to understand the stopping component.
Living on it and skating it every day lead me to get pretty complacent, perhaps too comfortable and on one occasion I tried to do just one skid, normally I took 3 or 4, and upon kicking it out [about 55-65kms] I high-sided and flew forward.  I managed to get a foot on the ground before hitting the road which helped me position myself to fall properly (we wear gloves with chopping board on the palms so if you manage to fall in a ‘push-up’position you can take most of the friction on your shoes and gloves, not your skin). I managed to get in that pushup position but the camber of the road pushed me over to the gutter, as my hand entered the gutter it was ripped from underneath me and I flipped onto my back, in the gutter.
This is were it got nasty. The gutter was heavily leaf littered so there was no friction, which was great for my back but the lateral force of the camber pushed my side against the gutter and I slide down the gutter for about 25 meters, with the coarse concrete gutter taking the skin off most of my side, about 12% of my total skin (your palm equals roughly 1%).  My leg, arms and chest were all torched but the worst part was the internal bruising from getting that foot on the ground before I fell over. I was bed ridden for a week and for the next year, maybe more, I couldn’t jump onto it.

Bloody hell, that sounds horrific. If someone still wants to get into this as a hobby, do you have 3 tips!?
get a helmet
get gloves
learn to stop!!!

Any recommended gear and brands?
I ride for landyachtz longboards, bear trucks and hawgs wheels so I’m biased but there are some rad new brands popping up too. Perhaps I’m cynical but this is how i consider componentary.  The board doesn’t really matter so long as your feet feel good, i’ve ridden boards from over a meter to bombing hills on a 35cm piece of wood but i only managed to do so because of the trucks.  The trucks are the entirety of the setup IMO, they define stability and agility, the two factors which actually matter.  As for wheels personal preference!  There are good wheels and bad wheels, most wheels are good and in order to love them you just gotta learn how they ride, for about 2 years i didn’t ride the same wheel twice and each new wheel was better than the last, but i realised it had nothing to do with the wheels themselves.  I’m happy to answer anyones questions if they want some real tech info, i’ve worked in downhill at all levels, from retail to operations and I’m stoked to pass on the knowledge

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

loving what you do vs doing what you love.

i've been heading towards a non-universal realisation that there are many conditions to the notion of 'earning money doing what you love' because if contentedness lies in moderation- i believe this to be the case- than can one possibly work with what they love yet retain work-hobby mutual exclusivity?  If this thing one loves doing becomes an income, especially in the freelance sense, can one ever stop working, even in their spare time?  Can they continue to explore their passion without it being inherently work-oriented?  I figure the fix to this problem may be working for yourself but isn't that why people go freelance in the first place...  which is a life of working all the time, so perhaps not a real solution, until you can just do whatever you want and still get paid.. is that even a thing outside of fad?    Since figuring that photo work was not for me, also that working was not why i started taking pictures, I've found much comfort in habit and routine however i dare say that is in part because the job itself had zero habit or routine.   

perhaps i'm striving for black and white reasoning, as usual, and i should consider that there's another school of thought, the school i was in for most of my time taking photos for income and it is that if you never treat it like a job than it'll be a hobby that earns you cash and that's rad.....[?]   It's what i loved about my time as a photographer but as time went by, subject to mundanity, i began wanting to progress my career as an employee of Landyachtz and not as a photographer and therein perhaps lay the catalyst.  

Stepping back from my ill-structured routine of the last 4 years has been a wave of introspection, indeterminate sense of self and soul-searching but what a ride it's been.   I'm on a new path, one i find much more life-appropriate and one that'll be more rewarding in the long run, perhaps not in the short-term social gratification that probably drives most of us but even if it's not immediately fun, it's immediately complex and that's the draw card.   I've applied for Mechatronics and hopefully in 6 years i've developed my own camera system because photographers need all the help they can get because helping pros is not part of the current camera company ethea- this cynicism towards the camera companies stems from a deep routed contempt initiated from working at a camera hire company and having the chance to consider what camera companies make, why they make it and what i learned is very little has anything to do with anything other than overall pricing structure... i fear camera companies engineer products with the RRP in mind but i guess that is because they make all their money off hobbyists, not the pros who actually need the good shit- plus it's a century+ old industry and in that time business practices always overcome what is it that they're selling.

enough whinging, in good news I finally began populating my website - - and i'm having a great time.  My girlfriend made it a number of months ago but it took until recently to commit and actually enjoy populating it, perhaps an indicator of my reinvigorated feelings towards the image, not the job.   I've made some basic miscellaneous galleries and i've commenced proliferating a series of galleries for every trip i've been on,  a mammoth task but probably worth it..  the only challenge is that its 16:9 fullscreen and demands landscape oriented shots only, which requires some redressing of past export practices however it gives me the opportunity to cull!!   I'm thinking when i finally get around to organising the mobile version of the site i'll only include portrait-orientation however i'm not sure....  I've also got a site at which currently has practically nothing,  a single film gallery from Cunnamulla and i'm unsure what i want to do with it or the page just yet, perhaps i'll just kill it or use it for something particular.


Jaik Aitcheson - warp speed 


PG Turnteen in Malibu, CA.


Dillon Stephens and Billy Bones on Romania's Transalpina.


Jimmy Riha, Mt. Keira Worldcup.


Wolfgang in the dirt, followed by Nick Breton, Riley Harris and Steven Vaughn - ski-resort access road in British Columbia.


Louis Pilloni at Kozakov, this one is old!!


Josh Evans in the arvo light of Drifter's Paradise.


Graham Collingwood rocks.


Billy Bones, Max Dubler and Myself spent an evening on Mulholland but we were in no way the only ones....

Friday, July 1, 2016

Provisional Adult Identity Moratorium

Perhaps 'provisional adulthood identity moratorium' is a more appropriate term for my quarter life crisis, which stems from the realisation that being a pro-photographer for the rest of my life terrifies me in the sense that I'm kinda over it...  I'm so very fkn blessed and lucky to have made it this far with a camera but the unavoidably potent combination of an unending desire for personal growth and my growing disdain for the medium began to make my psyche undesirably turbulent which led me down a treacherous road of uncertainty, denial and eventually soul-searching. (When I said disdain It's that I'm sick of treating my photographic passion as a means to make money) What I found on my search was my overriding love for the simple act of taking pictures and the reward from getting people stoked when I can simply give them a photo- people aren't like clients, they care about that exact stoke, whereas clients care about a lot of stuff that matters to making money and fulfilling their ethos, stuff that when I'm wanting to just float around and do my thing inevitably begins to take a deathly-toll on my passion.  Perhaps the only reason I became a 'pro’ photographer was because I was good enough to get paid for a niche..

I have found a path, there are sometimes many paths, and I think this moratorium isn't temporary nor is it something I'll ever grow out of so I should get used to accepting this forcible change because trying to deny it is doom, besides, how does one deny something that has brewed up from the subconscious.  Now that I think about it my life has been a constant juggle of hobbies, I think that's probably why I enjoyed working at Goodtime so much, it's a toy shop for active teens and adults, anything powered by nature, be it gravity, wind or muscle… that's a lot of shit to dabble in and it was this endless dabbling that led me to waves, then to skate and then to photo, not that Gail sold cameras but perhaps I saw cameras as a way to dabble in even more things, as a fly on the wall, in the instant, without having to spend time practicing what it was that i wanted to take photos of… however I fear being a professional fly on the wall quite obviously means that no one hears you, nor do they want to, nor does anyone remunerate perhaps what that fly feels is an adequate reward for the sedentary future that goes along with just sitting there on the wall, waiting for something to come into the room. But unfortunately for me that's how I like to take pictures: of stuff that is ignorant to me, be it a cat, fridge or a mountain however those things don't pay very well...  hmm.

Writing rants on my phone is so very very shite but I don't wanna stop just yet, these waves of introspection stand as the only chance for me to grasp at the underlying notions as to why I do peculiar things like try to move away from my dream job.  This started as a long winded instagram caption but it is now in the stage of a mid-range blog rant.

I see a pattern in the things I've done in my life, not what or why but how long.  As I get older it appears that I do one hobby for slightly longer than that one hobby I did before it, each adding to my ability to do a new hobby and I guess in the sense of my current job I never would've made it had I not been the subject of what i was to eventually shoot, before I was shooting it...  I don't think I'll ever make an occupational jump from a to b without them being related in someway, perhaps alphabetically, and to be honest it seems wasteful to not use one’s experience to better one's chance at enjoying the new experience, but I'm stoked by the thought of the jump.  As I said in a previous post happiness exists in memories but in new experiences exists excitement and that's the good shit.. Plus then there's the age old adage of the journey and not the destination etc.

I'm taking a big risk maybe, probably less of a risk than trying to become a photographer in the first place but I'm excited by different things now, I want to learn, it's taken a long time and it's been many years since I was in any sort of learning institution but nowadays I crave deeper understanding and knowledge than what can be learnt from a product manual or brief stints on Wikipedia and even briefer in books or journals.  I don't know if studying is the right thing for me just know, I feel I have the desire and hopefully the ability to develop an income that can provide me security and eventually enough spare time to study properly, maths maybe..  which is retrospectively crazy talk but I guess that's the glory of free writing exercises such as these and sometimes I wonder why I do this on a public page but this blog has morphed along with my perspective over it's many years and I figure google ain't gonna loose their servers whereas I lose my devices almost daily, books are even harder for me to retain..  But most of all I'm excited and chuffed by the way in which my underlying motives and emotions over the last 6 years of my life are imprinted in the nonsense that plagues these pages… 

at least if it so happens that in 5 years time I'm in some dead end job and I can't remember why I quite arguably the best occupation in the world, I'll be able to come to this post and see how farcical it all may have seemed………..

Sun down in the Mediterranean, the best part of the three ferries we took while navigating from France to Croatia.

sunrise over my hometown, Brisbane.  We're so blessed to have such a view, thankyou Mt. Cootha.


Sun beams in the Mojave, California..  I've traversed the region enough times to comfortably rate it as one of the most picturesque zones of planet earth.


the sun god casting a love beam on Billy Bones, Romania - Carpathian Mountains.


Mary Lou revelling in one of the best displays of mumma nature i've seen, the sun rose directly through the top of Mt Rinjani, I wish i'd been there 2 weeks later, watching the same vista unfold when the Volcano was erupting....


The dark side of the sun: Blue.


Monday, June 13, 2016

the power of mundaneity


the power of mundaneity is a phrase i throw around pretty regularly these days and that in itself is why i must rant about it now, before it too is lost to the mundane.  The phrase first began to rear its bland, ugly head when i started to realise that achieving my dream of shooting photos around the world was in fact the worst thing I could do for that dream..  This post is already riddled with too many contradictions for even me to figure out whats going on but i'm going to keep ranting on because nowadays this blog has become more mental-therapy under the not-so-subtle guise of pseudo-textual exhumation than it is for photo exposure and that's what i've always wanted but i've held onto this idea of self-representation that definitely still exists in some realms of my work, thankfully not this one.  Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is I never realised how naive i was to think that achieving a major life goal was essentially the beginning of the end, the same way i perceived university and completing it.. something i tried multiple times but never followed it through.. and when my experience grew within the realms of what were just figments of my day dreams from yesteryear i began to realise that things were only enjoyable for as long as they are new and exciting.  Or at least the level of enjoyability that I planned to adhere to, my parents always called me the apparel man, but that was essentially a monetary extension of my youthful restlessness demanding new experiences because new thing are exciting and happiness only exists in memory, and with that the contradictions seemingly carry on...    

But back to the power of the mundane: realising that taking photos around the world was actually something I wished not to continue was without a doubt the most shocking reality check i've had to date.. the death of transients.   How could the thing i wanted more than anything else become dull and dangerous to the underlying element that defined my passion for image taking: being forced to explore for the sake of new imagery, new locations therefore new experiences therefore happiness...  and in the case of the notion that happiness exists only in memory, what better way is there to be happy than to store memories in the most highly defined and visual pleasing manner??  Hence my love for photography, but perhaps also hence why i know don't really like the thought of travelling to take photos for money, i still love travelling, i still love taking photos and i dare say i 'still' love money but together these things can't compute.  The concretion of this idea came late last year when i gave myself the ultimatum to continue doing it or to try and travel, take photos and make money without relying on each of those aspects as a single motion, and i'm doing it, it's fkn stressful too, but i'm forcing myself to achieve some form of income that i consider more rewarding than taking photos around the world so i'm naturally having a really really hard time.   I've ulcers in my mouth and palpitations in my sleep but the real world is a hell of a place and to be quite honest i've been living in a dream land for 26 years now..








Sunday, June 5, 2016



Instagram is taking much of my photo concern as of late, trying to understand the platform, the audiences and the producers, be it photos, video or the act of 'selecting.'    It's not my first dig at instagram, i first dug into it a number of years ago out the generally undeniable need to document that which rings true in most of my actions, that's not to suggest i'm constantly taking pictures, sometimes i wish i still did, but other times i love the freedom i'm now afforded to pursue other epic things in life.   I dove into instagram 3 years ago thanks to a hand-me-down smart phone and revelled in the documentary.  

That journal, @maxicasj, saw my travels through my phone and i'm so glad i kept at it because without it i'd not have a cheeky lil log of every continent on earth- bar antarctica.  As phone's became sharper and screens larger the proliferation of serious image taking on instagram set in force the culture of post 2010s photography because now people, the population- not just people who were intrigued by photography- are given ample access to this rad art form..  I do now regret avoiding a serious [SLR] account back then instead of riding my presentation high horse, but had i done so i wouldn't have this brick of photos which is allowing me to post upwards of 3 photos a day and enjoy the fact that i'm not posting work that someone has paid me for but not yet used, the burden of exclusivity..  It's fun but i'm pretty disillusioned by the lack of context in my posting however my main qualm is that the audience are not particularly photographically concerned, nor are many of the curators, so at the end of the day quality photography is being taken over by the designers etc, i dont wanna whinge about this, i already did that in my previous post.

Since working with the application of Landyachtz social media I began to intrigue myself with the potential for exposure of my real photos.  It wasn't until the beginning of April that i finally bit the real photo bullet and it was the overdue realisation that i could post directly from my dropbox app to instagram that was the catalyst to all of this, who knew the cloud could be so handy... :/

if you've not noticed, i only just noticed so i dont expect such a thing, but all these notions i've just spoken about highlight my historical perversion to modernisation and photography and perhaps living itself.   It was not until very very recently that I came to terms with the importance of adaptability as without it i'll just get left behind, be it in picture taking or business or catching the bus cuz on friday, riding to work through torrential rain, i ploughed into the back of a car and totalled my motorcycle but I am completely fine so that was rad!!  lets hope i dont get $moked by their insurer because at the end of the day it involved a council bus and they have blanket right of way, even though i've head that there's an epidemic of alcoholism [i don't blame them in the sense that they cop shit all day long even thought they're just there to help, but on the other hand they're responsible for up to 50 people and bus v car has a pretty standard outcome...]  p.s. if you're reading this council lawyers don't tear me for calling them out pls, im just butt-hurt cuz my most favourite toy ever is in the bin.


Rachel Bagels in the San Bernadino Mountains, California.  She's quicker than most dudes and has the style to match.


Cooper is solid on all fronts.  Malibu, California.


1jb /  Obi wan Janobi was our South Korean tour lord and far out i've never met anyone that stoked let alone that infectious when it came to good vibes.   Dope pavement on a switchback run by the DMZ, South Korea.


Billy Bones the king of lux diving inside as we skated down to this afternoon's watering hole.


Dexter Manning, future world champ.


Kyle Martin, still my favourite skater, forever one of my favourite dudes to tour with.

I love these last two shots because they are of Patrick Walker, who is rad and kind and FAST and i hope he beats the world one day.




Thursday, June 2, 2016

it's sad but it's true and to be bitter about it is to condone creative genocide

"It’s ironic that as photographs have become easier to make and there are more photographers than ever before- making more photographs- the pictures are worse." [source]

A 70 year old photographer, Neal Rantoul, 40 years teaching photography at a university level- writing about the photographic establishment distancing itself from ubiquiitousity in order to protect their idea of the professional. At the end of the day, every person making a living from this trade feels threatened and I dare not to think about what's to become of this 'art' once RAW is available to the camera phone... In my opinion it's a final step in the reduction of photography by those willing to manipulate reality whilst comfortably under the guise of authenticity which photography somehow still implies. But this sense of giving-up on skilled photography is the only part of all this that truly enrages me because it's these preachers of Deceptionism that are promoting the death of professionalism and I don't know if they realise this but if they do it seems that they don't care, which doesn't surprise me as we are truly in the age of getting paid in likes by parasites that leech off the hard work of the people that are out there making the photos. The worst part is they self-glorify the role of 'selector' which to me just implies their photos aren't good enough to find the social success they crave therefore they turn to stealing better people's work and not only get away with it but make money off it.....?! I feel the future of photography will be bifurcated by those who express through art-theory and those who express through manipulation and this I've come to terms with, however I do feel the need for clearer definition of photography and digital art as to promote digital art as it's own form of art and not one of deception.
The only real way to 'save' the professional is to make film viable again as it STILL has greater resolving power than my $3500 camera [I honestly think this notion is ridiculous but anyway..] However we must consider the development in post-production tools that so effectively grade digital to look like film- which is fkn crazy because no serious photographer considers grain a good thing.... It detracts from one's ability to create sharp images and is something they relate to desperation [not the desperation of trying to look like you shoot film but the desperation of needing to shoot a photo in light conditions which are technically impossible because you've still got 400 in your body] And don't get me wrong, I know that this is merely a dream, for example just last year, Australia's most comprehensive film lab was purchased by my friend for $5000.......... enough equipment to turn over the entirety QLD's professional requirements... Oh and that Big-W's nation-wide developing equipment was worth so little to Fuji that when Big-W shut their developing services Fuji just sent the equipment to the dump........!?!!!! Nowadays, all facets of 'the act' are taken control of by the programmers developing the algorithms, not the chemists nor the AMO Physicists. 3.5 years ago I spent $13,000 on equipment, today I'm doing the same job with the skeleton of my former camera bag, thanks to breakages and losses, because the evolution of post-production takes consistently greater leaps forward than that of purchasing a new camera body... But it's okay! This is evolution and this is why I'm stepping away from using my camera to chase an income, because the futility of professionalism is not something i wish to fight for. I'd rather have food security than fight a loosing battle against technology and besides, taking pictures for your self is way more rewarding than making money from images you don't agree with.


Brisbane CBD


These Vanlifers lurking around Transylvania instilled in me much envy.


this is a light farm in the Mojave desert and I dont think i've ever been so gobsmacked by something man made, the beautility of light control is something that obviously fascinates me to the core.


Delivering drinking ice from the mainland to baby our first world bellies....


standing atop North America's highest dune was suprisingly terrifying, i dunno if it was vertigo or that with each step you started falling sideways as the sand gave out from under us but i wasn't super comfortable..


Behind me a Super moon, before me a limestone plug, beyond that the rising sun. one of my first adventures with my future wife.


minor crags of Fire Valley, perfectly human sized.


sunrise on my favourite road in the world: Transalpina, Romania.


sunset from my second favourite road: the ol fishing hole, Malibu.