The Tunnels Interview and Black Mountain Day DreamingRead More
I am so very happy to announce The Tunnels is done and on Vimeo!
Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, The Tunnels are a grouping of sandstone boulders, ranging from laybacks to overhangs. With Malibu Creek making its way to the ocean, The Tunnels have been shaped by aquatic forces. What has been left behind are inspiring lines that have drawn us to climb these boulders. The beauty of this place has long needed to be shared. From that, this short has been born. The Tunnels is the first episode of what will become a comprehensive visual presentation of the rock climbing in the Santa Monica Mountains.
I am so happy to get this out to everyone! It's been such a long process. As some of you know, I lost close to 45 hours of work on this film at the beginning of fall last year. It really put me through the wringer, and I took a break from working on this project. I am am over joyed to have worked through those frustrations to get this out! I hope you enjoy!!!
With the beginning of the new year in full swing, I figured now would be the best time to set intentions for this year as well update everyone out there on who I am, what I am and where I intend to be.
This year started on a road trip throughout the southwest. It was my first time there and I day dream to find myself back in its glory. A group of my friends headed out from the Los Angeles area to Moe's Valley, Utah, a bouldering spot that we had heard about for years but never had found the time to go.
Not only were we blown away by the incredible climbing, we found it mostly to ourselves. It was a cold week for the south west, which already had set us off corse of our original plans which was boulder/rock art hunting in the Grand Canyon. It was supposed to be 6 degrees during the day and below zero at night. That was outside the comforts we wanted to do for a "vacation" and found ourselves in Moe's Valley.
From Moe's Valley, we headed north to Zion. It was my first time in Zion and I was in awe the entire time we were there. There is a certain feeling to that place which was so magical, so grand that it enticed a subtle peace of mind.
From Zion, we headed to Red Rocks, Nevada to spend the last of our leg of our trip bouldering into the new year. Red Rocks was packed comparatively but found solace back in the canyons that few choose to make the effort of the hike. Prior to our trip, I made the purchase of pocket wizards. This allowed me to remotely fire my flash from anywhere. Freely being able to compose images the way I want to without the limitations of having a line of sight with my flash, I began experimenting with the system. Stumbling around looking for friends, I was on a mission to capture Red Rock bouldering into a single a image and felt I succeeded.
Though our trip was five days and the new year had began, we had to make it back to Los Angeles so that both Colin and I could get ready for our next trips. I was heading to Israel and then to the east coast in less than a week and began to anxious about getting ready emotionally and physically.
I've had a complicated relationship with myself about Israel as a state, my Jewish Identity and how that all relates to the concepts of who I am as a person in modernity. I had felt torn between the problematic nature of hegemonic states representing its people by its actions and how it relates to my inherent connectedness to these places because of my cultural and ethnic heritage.
Alas, I made my birthright trip and was moved in complex ways. But at this junction, I will leave it for next time! So have no fear, I will be back next week with more about my time in Israel, portraits and beyond!
Ps. Here are portraits of the rest of the southwest crew!
I never know where to start these posts. There is one thing for sure about my summer which is I had no lack of "adventure". I use this term with quotation marks because the word adventure has become loose. It once held a certain value and merit but as of late seems as though I can "adventure" by driving to my local state park and go on a leisurely stroll. Alas, my summer has been filled with awesome opportunities, life changes and new friendships.
One of the most apparent and obvious trips that stands out in my mind representing the beginning of my summer is the to the 7 Teacups in the southern Sierra Nevada. It had been a long time idea of Devlin's to ride down the 7 Teacups, a series of punch bowls in the southern Sierra Nevada that eventually flows into the Kern, on animal inflatables. We had talked about it the night before over drinks and because we, ( Ben, Devlin and I) had the freedom the next day, we decided there would be no reason to wait. We woke up the next morning, met Ben and drove to the southern Sierra.
The hike in was grueling, mostly because for some reason I figured I could fill my water on the way and didn't bring any water on the 95 degree day and 2 1/2 mile hike. There was one river crossing, which was somewhat nerve racking because all of the camera gear each of us brought. Ben's experience as a professional kayaker quickly came in handy as he helped me across the river. After we made the crossing, we did a quick 4th class scramble/slab up to the first of the punch bowls.
It took me a little coaxing by both Devlin and Ben to hop in and ride down the waterfalls. Their pressure was the best thing for me at that time. I felt insecure and doubt flooded my mind. A million possibilities of all scenarios ran through my mind in an instant. I saw myself in a wheel chair, breaking legs and having to be airlifted out of the remote southern sierra at once. I stopped myself and finally Devlin and Ben's voice broke through my insecurities. I took my dolphin, who I later named Josephine, and jumped into the first pool. I came to the lip of the the first waterfall, the same one pictured above, took a deep breathe and went for it. After the flash that was riding down the first Teacup, I quickly made it down the rest enjoying each moment. I can say now that it was one of the coolest experiences I have had in a long while.
In the next post, I go to explore the Inyo's, travel to Texas, assist Ben, and loose my entire climbing film. Stay Tuned.
My life has been amazing lately, but subsequently I have put somethings ( my website, photography etc...) on the side. Hmm...Where should I start??
In about a months time, I shot and edited two short ads for Butora. The one above is of Nicole Pate using the Endeavor as well as the prototype crashpad. It feels really good to be able to finally push myself to produce art that I am proud of.
The second of the two ads I shot. This is just a basic breakdown of the makeup of Butora's Endeavor! There were challenges that I encountered shooting this which really was, at the time, avoidable but nonetheless every day is day to learn, and I definitely did.
I am almost done with the first episode in my very own climbing film series. It will focus on climbing in the Santa Monica Mountains and the first location I filmed was the Tunnel boulders. A lot of people helped out already and I still have the entirety of the mountains to shoot! The name still alludes me, but I have some working titles and have faith a name will arrive soon.
I also just finished making a short film for Devlin for his presentation he is giving at the Telluride Film Festival... I don''t have many words to say about. I am sure that more will come of that!
I almost forgot! I also helped film the SCS national climbing competition! I was the shoulder cam guy who got in everyones face as they came off the climbs. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life!
Look out for a change in my website design! I'm playing with some new concepts so hopefully I will be able to change it up pretty soon!
There is a philosophy I have been living by lately, which simply is, if life presents you an opportunity, only you can stop yourself from taking it and growing. It is scary but taking those steps build the foundations to your own future. In all things randomness exists, but finding the pattern and choosing to participate with it is up to you. That randomness snowballs and turns into everything you are and will be. This year will be a good one. I can feel it in my bones.
A couple weeks back a few friends and I decided to avoid watching the Super Bowl by making our way down to the Tunnel Boulders. We were there with only one other group of climbers who we happened to know. We spent most of the time across the creek working the climbed pictured above as well as a classic v3/4. I love being a part of a culture and community where running into fellow climbers provides the sharing of beta, stories and support. Over the last two years I've had a hard time getting my climbing head game back and it feels great to have people genuinely believe in me. It helps me remember to loose the negativity I carry while climbing and push myself past it.
I'm stoked to keep going to this local crag and begin to working towards long term goals! A side note, on Megan and I's way back to the car we found an intrusion of some fossils! I love the fact that as you walk the road, if you are patient and willing to look for the smallest details, you will find pieces of the past ecologies and animals that are long gone.
The walk back also served as a reminder to me of how fragile our lives can be. We walked passed numerous memorials left by families torn apart by seemingly random accidents on Malibu Canyon and the plastic bouquets began to be bleached out by the sun. We must all remember to be safe, have fun and never forget to love the people you are with, you never know when it will be your time to pass on!
I move by train,
Staring from the window
To the passing Landscape.
The cows and their herders,
In fields of puddles and grain.
I pass towns made of bricks,
Filled with wild dogs in packs,
Roaming train tracks looking for a meal.
I pass illuminated clouds,
light by the eastward soothing sun.
I pass by through time,
To my destination.
I pass by,
Just as the landscape
Rushes by in my window.
My body grows older,
Traveling through time,
Arriving and departing,
Never on time.
Just like the current of my movement,
I watch life pass by,
As towns blur and faces crowd
All I can see.
Love, and hate.
Love and hate.
But with time,
We pass by turmoil and serendipity,
Realizing we are the very thoughts,
That fuel hate and love.
We stand still watching,
Waiting for life,
This train to
This past weekend a big lot of us went up to Black Mountain to work on projects, train, be outdoors and really just take advantage of the fact that we were actually able to get up there. I don't really have any projects up there right now, though I did work "The Visor" V6 and think that for now, that's what I will train for.
Since my injury, it has been difficult to get my left hand back to 100% which in turns gives me a lack of confidence. That confidence is the root to having a strong head game which is essential if you want to attempt anything like the problem Devlin is pictured in above.
My real intention on going up to Black Mountain was to photograph all of my friends climbing their respective projects. Some times when you try new problems, or are getting used to the thin mountain air, you have create new perspectives on how to move your body. Training can only bring so much to novel situations and then you step beyond what you believe you can do.
And sometimes when we go to that place beyond any thought, you succeed or fail and thus grow from our experiences.
I become the spectator to these moments within myself as well in others and learn from both mine and their mistakes. That is the world of climbing, for with the endless spraying of beta and the "perfect" workout routine we try to perfect ourselves so that when we come outdoors we can enjoy climbing to its fullest.
After a full day of exploring the mountainsides and barely being able to breathe due to the altitude, we called it quits for the day and drove back to the SMM. It was a great day and can't wait for my next adventure up at Black Mountain.
In the moments we focus so closely on the details of life, we lose sight of time. In this, I find myself constantly in flux with motion sickness and golden sunsets. I guess it is just time to find my place in our world and through my eyes comes my photography, film and music.
On a way less esoteric note, I'm really focusing on this website! I've finished the videography page and painstakingly am working on the photography page! How does it look so far? In other news, I have gone on about 4 climbing adventures recently and am also working on editing those to make a cohesive portfolio. I really want take time and just thank everyone who has been so supportive of my art! I really appreciate it. These words can't really describe it at all!
You begin to forget what it feel to have a place to call home when you are moving all the time. In all seriousness, I barely haven't had a home but the six months of living where I had no such place to call my own gave me a longing for "home". Technically, I am home but who knows for how long or what will be in store for my future. Alas, I do know that I have a video I am working on as well as tons of photography and even a sound design project or two! Indeed, its good to be in one place to final get working on these projects, Theres always more to come.
I am on the verge of leaving for Thailand. Literally as I type this I lay in bed not wanting to get up out of the comfort of a warmness and protection of the sheets. It is always important to get out of your head and traveling across the world to locations considered exotic is one sure way of doing that.
So here is the direction of my life for the last six months or so: filmed a mini documentary, graduate college, moved out of my home of three years to then live out of boxes and alien beds, coaches and floors, sparsely climbed due to finger injuries, Devlin came to Washington and we drove 1500 miles in three days, worked with Aaron Huey in Seattle, Drove to California, Flew to Boston and now out to Thailand. When in list form my life looks a lot cooler and maybe it is, i'll just need some more convincing.
This is the year. That time has come where all things pushed into our minds when we were young becomes the reality. This is the year I graduate college and hopefully find some meaning in my new life as an "adult". I never do know what to say or really think with regards to these posts, but here it goes: I'm getting surgery on the 14th, I've been in a weird lull with regards to photography, I am constantly have the drive to push myself to achieve greatness but recognize that it comes with the grace of time, I have some opportunities that will come to fruition this year that will completely change my life and last but not least, since my departure from this world, I made a music video, climbed with Morgan, Gabe and Alex in Joshua Tree, chased cave paintings on the solstice, found an amazing intrusion of limestone filled with incredible quartz, performed two shows, and have an album coming out in march...
Check this time lapse I made for the climbing competition.
It has been sometime since I have mustered up the creativity to update this blog. Alas, here I go. I have realized with help of my close, old friend Devlin, that my photographs in short were completely lacking. It stems from the idealism I was masking as perfectionism, and in that I simply could not see a photograph through a lens that gave a story, that was subtle and "perfect". Yet over the last months, I have devoted much time to throwing out everything I used to thought I was and begun from the ground up once again, this time recognizing the limitations of pure idealism verse idealistic creativity.
My longtime friend from Agoura, Devlin, came to visit my household, my new state, my climbing. I felt a little insecure because I wanted to give him a great time, an adventure of sorts, and still being a newbie in this state I wasn't sure what to expect. Devlin and my relationship has always been about adventures and what places we will come to without our knowing of such place. It is a state of being that is of the utmost importance to me, so having Devlin come here to this state, I had to make sure it would be filled with amazingness. Kyle, Marc, Myself, Tolkien and Luna filled my Subaru Forester. We packed it with a mondo crash pad, a regular sized one and all of camping gear for atleast 4 days and of course the climbing and camera gear. We make it right on time as Devlin is exiting the terminal at Seatac. We rush out of the car, give our hellos, shoved his mondo pad that made mine seem small in comparison into the already filled Forester and what seemed like ten minutes sitting there with everyone watching, we finally slammed my car shut and headed toward Seattle. I had just recently sold all my cannon gear and had a lens left over that I wanted to sell at Glazers. We stopped, I sold it and got a Joby Gorillapod at Devlin's suggestion. After about an hour or so of meandering in Seattle, we headed off to Gold Bar and went straight to the 5 star boulder.
The First day was a dud, I only climbed a v2 warm up and tried a v6, but was getting no where close to completing it. Devlin got a pretty impressive send on a v6.(shown below) We got a free campsite just under the Index Town Walls next to a beautiful River and called it a night. That next day we went searching for the River boulders and oh did we find them. They are some of the best granite I have ever touched, so smoothly eroded from the river that they lay beside, the boulders were tall, hard, and didn't even rough your skin up.
I think this a good place to conclude for now. It has been almost a month straight of non-stop adventuring with almost no time to relax, let alone work on rebuilding the evergreen climbing gym (I can't believe we are actually doing that and will get photos up as soon as we are done) planning on leaving to california in two days (getting ready to continue shooting the obscure boulders project with Devlin, and some bad family news to attend to), starting to read/study for my upcoming program, Vertebrate Evolution, and of course you know, be Josh.
Here we go: These are collect of photos from the past, present and possibly the future. They include a trip to the museum, climbing in the wild and a desert portrait.
Apocalypse vs. Collapse
There is a distinction to be made between an apocalypse and a collapse. Initially, there were frequent disagreements about whether the associations evoked by the word “apocalypse” might impede our progress. The strongest argument against the use of the word apocalypse is that it elicits a programmed response. It was argued that the countless depictions of social and environmental collapse have quietly indoctrinated to respond in a misguided/inappropriate response in the consumers of such media. “Apocalypse” is an entirely cultural ideal that is primarily based off an image that has been enculturated into media, in the situation of that countless movies depicting social or environmental catastrophe (see 2012 or insert zombie movie name here) or through the Abrahamic religions via the Bible and other texts (see the Book of Revelations or any giant flood myth). There is an evolutionary purpose for such cultural programs to exist, which is an entirely different argument and does not apply to the syntax of such words. One of the definitions (“apocalypse”) pertains to environmental factors, uncontrollable--a dictum descended from a higher power, and the instilled negative connotations enculturated into our society take us away from looking at what collapse is. A collapse can happen to any living/nonliving system, for it is only a degradation of its structure and thus its failure. This could look like an apocalypse, yet there is doubt that the trilobites of the Cambrian-Ordovician mass extinction looked around and claimed “apocalypse.” If we continue to use the word “apocalypse” rather than “collapse,” we will miss the mark, looking for the signs of the End of Days rather than the predicament of a collapsing system that looks nothing like a Hollywood Blockbuster film and more like environmental change, population shifts, constant warfare, and the degradation of the intertwined systems that makes up our entire society. Because of its extreme biases, the word “apocalypse” will cause people to give up, stirring imagery of an impending outbreak of a lethal plague or widespread cannibalism, it implies the End of Days, rather address the actuality of the impending event.
Peace At Twilight
My thoughts like a new story each time, unfold in ways allowing me to read into to them as if I have no clue to the plot arch, yet as I have grown older those plots seem redundant and I begin to pick apart the nuances of my archetypal existence. I’ve found the specific memes of an emotional landscape equivalent to a mountainous expanse, filled with many valleys and deserts surrounding them protecting the beauty from ever escaping. Some times it hurts to see what you know is others thoughts and their stories, their landscapes. Being so adept at traversing across the most difficult emotional landscapes, that is my own; I’ve found I walk through emotions with ease and a way that connects me immediately to the perceiver of those feelings. I believe it to be plague of insight, a crude adaptation for a species no longer living in their ancestral landscape. Its just noise at this point yet it is then easy for me to see what people think, what they feel, and most importantly judge how they will act in the future. It can be misleading and filled with dynamic shifts constantly fluxing within the moment, which of course causes me to slip and fall, but each failed experiment is a new thought, a new story, thus my book grows and it is less and less I slip. But this is what puzzles me: Why is my perception tuned into others? I hear their voices speak through eyes filled pain, bewildered at the causality of day-to-day life. Where does this come from and why does it affect me in ways that there are only so few I can speak to?
As I look out into space I ponder if there are others out there who see the moon in the same way I see it right now. The small cadences of a pocketed earth-remnant orb floating precariously in the sky perfectly lit with shades of yellow and orange, always alone, never ceasing its rotation around earth. It is always an emotional experience looking upon that beauty as it waxes and wanes like the ebb and flow of an ocean tide. And it’s the waxing and waning of the emotional landscape that is the hallmark of our species and what I am constantly bombarded with in each moment. And so I think: are you out there? Can you see what I see? Hear what I hear? But most importantly can you hear me? Does my voice, these words, reach your ear in a way that the story I am telling reaches the dark recesses of you body, in ways just like when I hear everyone’s story? If I find you will I be able to tell if you actually can hear and see, for my expectations are higher than most and notably wrong. I fall into traps in my mind, places where the story itself has began to evolve and shift, just as any creature does as it reaches its sustainable capacity. In this system will I ever find a place to stay warm and dry, free from those stories, and my own evolution? Will you be there?