Collecting Inspiration

Ok, I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a hoarder. There does come a point though when enough is enough and I’ve recently drawn the line at transferring years and years worth of photographic and outdoor magazines to my new storage cupboards.  I’m having a bit of an ‘autumn clean’.

First of all there was every single monthly edition of one magazine title going back 5 or more years. These are being recycled as we speak apart from a few pages of interest I kept for future reference. Then there were random walking/climbing/outdoor adventure publications – again, vital information extracted with what remained adding weight to the week’s recycling. And finally a whole back catalogue of Patagonia brochures. Yes, you’ve got that right, the outdoor clothing company Patagonia.

A diversity of inspiring images in the Patagonia catalogues

If this sounds a little strange hear me out. Back in the day the photography in their brochures was inspirational. They asked people to send in pictures of themselves, family or friends, wearing Patagonia gear whilst involved in some outdoor adventure or activity. They called it ‘Capture a Patagoniac’. Brilliantly seductive advertising yes, but equally inspirational photography. The photographs feature mountaineers, rock climbers, trail runners, surfers, kayakers, mountain bikers etc.. and some fabulous locations across the globe. They inspired me as a lover of the great outdoors and as an adventure photographer. And this is the point I’m getting to. Tedious as the photography/outdoor magazine cull has been, it was really good to flick through each one and take out what caught my eye, what sparked an idea, what provided me with useful information, what inspired me – which was the point of keeping most of them in the first place. I’m a great believer in taking inspiration for my photography from many different sources, and books and magazines are such a great source. Now that I have narrowed the bulk down to a fraction of what it was by simply keeping relevant pages, I’m not only more likely to go back and look at what I kept but I’m not filling my new shelves with unnecessary clutter either.

Inspired to visit Patagonia and wowed by the stunning approach to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

So inspired was I by those Patagonia brochures I remember sending my own photograph in.  It didn’t get published. They returned my print together with a letter of acknowledgement and thanks, which in itself would probably be something of a collectors item today (of course I’ve kept it!). Having been rejected I remember analysing the photo I submitted, comparing it to those in the brochures and in doing so I learnt and understood why it might not have made the grade. The Patagonia brochure collection of pictures was so successful that in 2010 they published a book of photographs that had been used in their catalogues and called it Unexpected: 30 Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography. I still have some of the originals . . .

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