Secrets behind the success of adventure photographer who shoots for North Face, National Geographic
Corey Rich has photographed everything from alpine climbing to ultramarathon racing
Adventure photographer Corey Rich has captured images few others have seen while on shoots for big names in the outdoor world like North Face and National Geographic.
But for Rich, his favourite photos are the ones with the best stories behind them.
"It's the memories," he said.
"Of course, there are technical reasons like the light and the composition and moment of when I depressed the shutter, but I can't just look at an image subjectively."
The 43-year-old from California describes himself as a lifelong storyteller. He first picked up a camera three decades ago as a young teen, around the same time he started rock climbing, and went on to cover extreme sports in extreme locations around the world from alpine climbing in Pakistan to ultramarathon racing in the Sahara Desert.
"At a fundamental level, I know that I'm the best version of myself when I'm outside in wild places, challenging myself, pushing myself to the limits and surrounded by people who inspire me," he said.
"But on another level, I've realized over time that my job is to make pictures that, hopefully, move people and inspire people to get outside and have adventures on their own."
Lessons from behind the camera
He was in British Columbia this weekend to speak about the lessons he's learned from a life behind the camera at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
"I feel lucky that I turned adventure photography into my job but even if this wasn't how I paid my mortgage, I would still be doing the exact same thing in all of my free time," he said.
"But it's really important to acknowledge that passion doesn't get better just because you're making a living doing it."
Not everyone is in a position to pick up and travel the world and follow their dreams, he agreed. But everyone can start somewhere.
"It's OK to keep your day job, but the key is filling the rest of the time — the time you're not working — with what you really enjoy," he said.
"It's feeling that magic. And we can all squeeze that into our lives."
Rich is no stranger to success — both his own and the athletic success of people he photographs. He recently published a book called Stories Behind the Images that highlights his career.
Over the years, no matter what path or passion someone pursues, he's noticed some universal truths about what brings success.
3 ingredients for success
"You need some raw talent — every person has some raw talent — and you need a lot of passion," he said.
"Passion as in that willingness to work super hard and not do some of the other things in life because you are so focused on what you love doing."
And the third ingredient for success, according to Rich: be nice to others.
"It really helps if you're a good person, if you're not an asshole," he said.
Also, never settle.
"You have to keep on pushing and pushing and always striving for perfection, even though I'm not sure there really is something called perfection in photography," he said.
"And maybe that's good, it keeps you hungry."