Mountains, climbing, people.
Those three ingredients never cease to inspire Canmore-based adventure photographer John Price.
“They all invoke a huge amount of emotion in me,” Price said. “They are three things that are always changing, be it internal or external emotions, or mountain conditions. With change, you are gifted fresh perspective and always something new to shoot and document.”
With that in mind, Price has been shooting people, mountains and climbing professionally since 2015.
And on Thursday (Dec. 14), he’ll share some of his favourite images, stories and techniques at the Canmore Legion. Hosted by The Alpine Club of Canada’s Rocky Mountain Section, the evening will also feature images from its members annual photo contest.
For his part, Price admitted he originally planned to pursue the long, challenging journey of earning professional Association of Canadian Mountain Guides certification. He began shooting images with his first ‘real’ DSLR camera in 2013 and, deciding he really loved photography, he dove right in. This year, one of his images was chosen for the prestigious Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival poster.
“I decided I loved photography enough to throw myself at it and try and make a career out of it,” he said. “It was the best decision I ever made. Despite being very insecure about the outcome, the more I shot, the more I wanted to keep shooting and sharing my images. This motivated me to try and sell my work, so I could keep doing what I loved.”
Working as a professional photographer presents wild challenges, he added. His biggest test to date came while shooting multi-sport adventurer Will Gadd in Japan.
“I was hanging above him while he was trying to do an onsight – first ascent of an ice/mixed line,” Price said. “There was choss and loose rock on the wall and I was trying to manage a lot of static rope, stay ahead of him while trying to get good images and video, all while freezing rain was whipping at my camera from all angles, constantly freezing over the lens.”
His first concern was Gadd’s safety, he said, but that was followed immediately by wondering if he was capturing any images that might be useable.
Savouring the challenges of his profession, Price said his dream assignment would be a longer expedition, ideally with athletes/friends.
“I think longer journeys allow for better images and storytelling,” he said. “I love run and gun style photography; it makes you learn fast and roll with punches. But a longer trip allows you to tell so many sides of a journey, and allows some more calm to the process overall.”
Now two years into his profession, Price said while he has learned tons, he knows many more lessons await and he’s grateful for advice that keeps him on his toes.
“I’m still constantly learning, and I’ve got many mistakes ahead of me,” Price said. “At the risk of sounding cliché, I think the best advice I’ve been given is: Shoot what you love. If you are shooting what you love – mountains, climbing, people, etc. – you will be inclined to do it all the time.