Tribute to the Lensmen
Originally published by Method Magazine - January 2018
***Method gave me these pages to do whatever I wanted with, they said every photographer has used them to display a portfolio of their best work. I thought about it, and wanted to make a portfolio... of the best people I've worked with....***
Behind the Cameras.
The unsung hero's of the snowboard industry . . . the lensmen. We've all seen the images and films, its what inspires, teaches, and motivates us, and this media has always celebrated our culture and the characters that make it such a rich lifestyle. But what about the people behind the lens? What most people don't realize is that documenting pro snowboarding is as rigorous as pro snowboarding. We have to go everywhere our riders go, but instead of a backpack full of snacks and tea, its 30-50lbs of electronics, in addition to the safety equipment, food, and extra layers, needed to survive in the mountains. We dont take those days off like riders do, when a rider needs a day off, theres another rider who's ready to go, a filmer like Shane Charlibois might spend more days on snow than anyone else on Earth. Every day and night, those cameras have to be cared for, much like a human child. The lensmen that I know LOVE snowboarding, and they LOVE art, and they make major sacrifices in life for the sake of this love. The cameras and images are their babies, and these guys would be the best parents a child could ask for. Cameras are fragile, and they safely bring them into the worlds toughest environments day in, day out. Could you bring an infant into the backcountry? You can't drop em or get them wet, you have to wipe their lenses (butts), feed them (new memory cards), burp em (download memory cards), and you have to protect them with your life, just like a parent. I can't tell you how many times I've ate shit, and went down twice as hard because I instinctually protect the a cameras I am in charge of. This is a tribute to those honest, hard working lensman I've had the pleasure of working alongside. Thank you guys for the love and dedication, the snowboard industry wouldn't be the same without you.
Shane Charlibois has been filming and riding in this zone for 20+ years. His contributions to the industry via Absinthe films have made that company what it is, and without his passion, snowboarding would not be the same. He lost a close friend to an avalanche in the area, and while he could have a cush job on the beach, he chooses the continue shooting in the backcountry, because of love, and moments like this. Donner Pass, CA
Scott Serfas is a kid in a mans body. His shit talking and enthusiasm is contagious, and he has over 25 TWS covers. Would you get jaded after such a long career? Not Scott, here he is deep in the AK backcountry, seeing everything again for the first time. I've noticed a trend in the gifted and talented photographers, they have the passion and eyes of children, where every day is a new adventure. This was not a posed moment, Scott truly loves the mountains. Valdez, AK
Aaron Whitley has two children back home, but snowboarding was his first baby. The man is a real parent, much like Serfas, only a poppa could navigate this sketchy bootlick with 35lbs of diesel fuel, coffee, breakfast, and a pair of gloves in his hand, @ six am. Notice Bjorn Leines in the background? His sled is already fueled because after riding all he had to do was some yoga, while Aaron spent the whole evening dumping and logging footage. Interior British Columbia, Canada.
This is a selfie. I've started to run two cameras, and shoot one of them remotely, so I can get a wide and long lens shot at every spot. The man to my left is cinematographer Kyle Schwartz, he just had a daughter, but he's not a new parent, he's given birth to more memorable video parts than a Mormon housewife, and his newborn daughter is in great hands. (rider - Garrett Warnick) Lake Tahoe, CA
Cole Taylor has a huge heart, and one of the sharpest eyes in snowboarding. He's a parent of a little boy and girl, and he's also produced, filmed, edited, and released, dozens of full length snowboard films, and brought unknown snowboarders to the top of the industry in his days as the leader of the FODT/T9 crew since day 1. He's won the TWS team shootout, winning X-Games real snow edits, and other awards, but he's also like a parent to me, like the rad dad who tosses you the car keys even though you might not be ready for them. He took me under his wing when I was unknown, and I only wish my work ethic and eye was as strong as his. Salt Lake City, UT
Ethan "E-Stone" Fortier. Like a rock. This guy, my photo sensi, is wise, humble, hilarious, and one of the hardest workers I know. He has two speeds, asleep, and 100mph. I have NEVER seen him get angry, and if we could all have attitudes like his the world would be a much better place. Sometimes I wish that when my phone rang @ 2 am it was my beautiful girlfriend reaching out to say she loves me and misses me, but 99% of the time its E-Stone. He and I are both night owls, and we might be brothers, we work on the same crazy schedules, and even if it's 2am and I need to talk photo, he's always up, working hard, and leading by example. Salt Lake City, UT
H. Yours Truly, Sean Kerrick Sullivan. I dont know what im doing, but I'm doing what I can, working as much as I can, and as hard as I can. Before drones got smaller, this was the best set-up I could find to safely get my done, and all of my camera gear and safety gear out into the field. To be successful, the only thing I know forsure is that life as photographer is about giving back more than you take, and putting 100% of yourself into whatever you do.
Leland Mcnamera. This guy, he's got a young son who's already shredding, and his dedication to his craft is unparalleled. You might see him with pants that are ripped to shreds, and some old ass board, but thats because he cares about documenting snowboarding. A true anti-narcissist, his craft and family comes first, and what you think of him comes last. He saved my life in the Jackson, WY backcountry once, and we almost died together in BC. He makes "work" fun, and anyone who gets to work with him is lucky. (Rider, Chris Grenier) Interior British Columbia, Canada.