Real happiness lies in that which never comes nor goes but just simply is.
- yogi tea
Every now and then that yogi tea knows what its talking about. Every now and again you get that one that actually applies to the moment and makes sense. While I do my fare share of eye rolling at most of the tea prophesies I receive, I also have a superstitious streak and do believe that the universe speaks to you if you only listen. So I'm listening to the damn tea.
This all ties into our most recent series of stories on our Instagram. John had uploaded a vast quantity of our photos onto Amazon Prime account ( For those of you who have an account there currently is not limit for your photo storage so we are taking advantage of this while we can ) photos going all the way back to 2006. Photos from before we were together! All of this triggered a huge trip down a rabbit hole of memory.
I know we're not the only ones sharing our backstory nor are we the first to comment on the need to show more transparency in practice. Beyond feeling a human need to have connection I think its also so valuable to share ones origin. To bear witness to success in whatever capacity was achieved through a saga so to speak. Some of this I am sure is self indulgent sure but I also think , like a good critique , our photo archives can teach us about where we are and we need to be. They speak so much to who we were at the time. Our interests, fashion, skill sets and passions and how different they all were before the standard of Instagram. I recounted in our stories section that it dawned on me for the first time that our first big trip together in 2012 was the catalyst for what would become our business - appartion.
And it made me think about how much our mentality has changed since those early days. Not only because we have grown as artists and partners but because of Instagram influence. While IG made it's debut in 2010 it just wasnt a part of our vocabulary, our lives. Heck we didn’t even get smart phones or have consistent internet until 2012. We couldn't afford international data plans so we used a blog so that our parents could know we were alive when we did come across some wifi ( here is a link to John's Hesselbl0g circa 2010 )
When we started traveling together and the way in which we traveled was of born of a romantic vagabond ambition. While our intent ultimately was to document our life and travels to share with others there was no real president ( save for the photos of our travel heros leaps and bounds ahead of us) . We were very young, newly in love and very much wrapped up in our own little world. A world that only we saw. And I realized looking back the other day that those journeys , our past has mostly stayed that way.
Everything BIG (before Instagram) has mostly remained tucked away. While I have sprinkled some "archives" throughout our profile, the standards of IG being what they are today had some bearing on what I shared. I felt trepidation. Older photos may not have the same color grading we use now. Our compositions may not have been as strong. Our (my) fashion choices at the time may not have been as “polished” as they are now. Our traveling methods not as glamorous. And mainly we overall have progressed more maturely as artists. But as I said before isn't that the point? To constantly keep journeying to striving towards learning and growing? And while there is value of course in creating a portfolio one is proud of that may aid to getting more work not all of life is a highlight reel. Some of the photos John and I find the most inspiring are those in the outtake section. Those that speak to the emotion or best tell a story.
To that point John and I just watched the recently released Patagonia origin film - Mountain of Storms with Yvon Chouinard. It's the 1968 precursor to the Jeff Johnson documentary 180 Degrees South. It's phenomenal. Yes these people Doug Tompkins, Yvon Chouinard and Dick Dorworth are insane athletes but thats not the intriguing part.It's their determination. Their scrappiness. Their tool making, their van breaking down, their selling the gear, the inclement weather, their imperfect narration , their vulnerability all combined together that makes it compelling.
When we shared our outtakes form that 2012 journey honestly it was somewhat vulnerable to divulge but not embarrassing. If anything I was so proud of our resourcefulness and our ability to just jump right in without truly knowing what we were doing. And mostly of our growth since then.I bet even Ivon Chinard feels the same way about his 1968 trip. So to go back to that tea quote it's best to take our past (imperfections and all ) as something that simply is. You can bury it. You can edit it.Or you can just own up to it and share what you've learned. *
* as a footnote to this writing there are so many many photos from this trip - too many to include and some that I have already shared already on our IG. I just wanted to share a sampling of those outtakes , some that I previously didn’t feel made the cut, the ones that show just where we were at. I also wanted to mention that the photos were all taken on film with a Hasselblad ( we actually tried to go to the Hasselblad factory when we were in Sweden but it had moved).