• Skiing Out of Darkness Mount Baker Washington by Jay Goodrich

    Owen Dudley skis out of the darkness during a brief clearing in the backcountry near Mount Baker Ski Area.

That is the Sound of Inevitability

I stood there looking at myself in the mirror. The scene unfolding was reminiscent of a Hunter S. Thompson novel. Gritty face. Bloodshot eyes. A general foggy demeanor spiraling around my hungover head. The girl that was to become my wife was lying naked in the bed behind me. It was my first commercial photo shoot, there is absolutely no reason that I should be feeling this way. I grabbed for the Advil, Alka-seltzer, and water, need water. My tongue felt like I was a cat preparing to cough up a hairball. It is safe to say there were sweaters covering my teeth. I heard the music of last night’s party still ringing in my ears. I vaguely remember some nakedness to the point of mild porn in the gondola last night with hand-held flash going off as random as a dance strobe in a techno bar, but the fog was doing its best to hide any and all of those embarrassments. Did I really take it this far? I mean, I got paid to do this to myself. This was only a wedding for god’s sake. Was this going to be the rest of my life and career?

Almost two decades later, I was in the same place. A mirror, in a bathroom, with sweaters on my teeth. In Vancouver this time, not Vail. Yes, I was shooting an assignment. This time about the Olympics and ski dirtbags. It’s good to see that many things have changed and many things have not. I am married with two kids now. My wife told me to go and have fun. This wasn’t feeling much like fun. The dirtbags woke me up off of my couch at about 2am as the whole party went nuclear. Much like the light porn I still vaguely remember from the wedding in Vail so long ago, it began with a concept, a contract, and unlimited handshaking, touring, and of course skiing. I only remember my friends prying my eyes open and asking if I was awake. The smell of spilled red wine, tequila, and beer permeated the condo. We were supposed to ski today and the snow was falling out of the sky like never before on this journey. Very similar to the brain cells that were littering the floor before me.

My life consists of writing, photographing, and family. Sometimes there is a little sleep thrown in there, but most times not. I pushed for this career, I dreamt of it, I wished for it, and there are many times that the dream of frolicking through the wild flowers without a care in the world turns into the Freddy Kruger of nightmares. Like I have always said and probably always will, lob the grenade into the room first, then head in, resurrect the broken and busted survivors to do it again on another day. Would I change my life? Sometimes there are parts that I would. Spending more time with my family so they don’t hate me so much, and trying to be a better man, I seem to be caught in the phase of always trying. I am standing on the precipice of 15 years as a professional photographer and writer and I am only truly scratching the surface of that lifestyle and occupation.

Many ask me how I do it? They want the remedy to fix their dreams, hopes, and career paths. My advice is always-Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. Envision it and go after full-tilt, like you were running from that brown bear and your life depended on it. The results will be shocking, almost to the point of perfection, if you stay away from the psychotic episodes. I have brought my entire personal life to my career and vice versa. I live the dream and the nightmare, every day. It is safe to say that tomorrow I will drop another monster backcountry line full of cold smoke powder and on Sunday will be shooting another hotel for Hilton. It’s all about living in balance with the world, nature, family, and concepts. Some days it’s as perfect as three feet of consolidated, bonded, trackless powder and other times that it is as rotten as a freezing trend after ten inches of rain. It is safe to say that tomorrow, I will fix the hand grenades of today and the cycle will continue. Inevitably.

Tree Whore

Burned Koa Trees on Mauna Kea Hawaii by Jay Goodrich

There are millions of fetishes out there. Sexual. Professional. Libational. Nutritional. We humans all have our weaknesses. Hell, I even heard of woman who is obsessed with drinking gasoline. Gasoline? Every day is a learning experience I guess. My first encounter with a tree was when I was about five. We had this slanted maple in the front yard of my parents house that just begged to be climbed. It was an early spring day at age five that I climbed that sucker for the first time. I remember it so vividly, blue hooded sweatshirt, jeans, white Nikes with a red stripe. I remember the knees scraping along the bark as I squatted my way up that thing. Lime green budding leaves of spring. Blue skies with high puffy clouds. A brisk breeze in the air. Maybe my obsession started there? Are there any kids that don’t love to climb trees? I think it is a right of passage. Those trees got bigger and bigger as we got older and evolved into other trials. I went to bikes, then to skis, then to rock, and then full circle again.

Deep Snow at Mount Baker Ski Area by Jay Goodrich

For the last twenty years of my life, one of my main obsessions has been photography. I have lived it, breathed it, fretted over it, cried over it, and fought it exclusively every day. I can tell you that if you can visualize it, visualize anything, you can make it happen. Think about the placebo. P.O.S. The power of suggestion. Maybe that is where our fetishes come from, a place we cannot stop turning deep in the folds of our gray matter. A reality we just need to taste. Day in and day out. “It’s like acid in your veins.” Maybe. Those freakin’ trees of my youth have become somewhat of a fetish of my adulthood. If I have a camera anywhere near me, I am going to shoot the shit out some poor tree somewhere in the world. I spent days working trees in China, an afternoon in a backyard quiver in Hawaii, weeks of bristlecones and pinyons in Colorado, and now the firs and maples of the Pacific Northwest. I can smell those twisted and gnarled formations of Big Sur the second I exit the plane in San Fran-like a bloodhound on an escaped con.

Foggy Winter Forest Washington by Jay Goodrich

It is safe to say that trees do it for me. I am a whore for them. What is it? Their lines. Shapes. Trees are sexy. You can spend hours on just one seeking a literal composition or breaking it down to the most abstract of forms. Broken lines, smooth lines, crooked lines, disrupted lines, burnt lines, dead lines, living lines, limitless. I can’t stop nor would I ever want too. Maybe some day, somewhere I will be able to put them to rest, but for now the obsession continues. I can’t wait to see what I will find out there in the forest tomorrow, or the next day, week or month. I know they will be there sitting waiting for me to train my eye on them, not with hatchet or saw, but with a black box full of technology. My friends are now getting into it too. Whenever we are out shooting they point out what they think might make a good composition and inevitably they are fueling the fire. A bonfire now with gallons of gasoline thrown on it.

Cactus and Pinyon Single Track Mountain Biking by Jay Goodrich

In a way maybe the need for those trees is my way of exploring a little environmentalism? They do create the oxygen we need to breathe and they need our CO2. We are destroying them by ten-fold on a minute by minute basis. And in turn we will probably destroy ourselves. Plant the trees. Save the trees. If for no one else then a self-proclaimed professional photographer, writer and tree whore. Ok. I need to go have a cigarette. I hope that was as good for you as it was for me. If you need to find me, I have a date with some wood, out in the woods.

Koa Tree Wind Hawaii Volcano by Jay Goodrich

iShave

The Shaved Shins of a Manly Man by Jay Goodrich

Most serious cyclists break out the Bic at one point in their life or another. “It is for the road rash.” or “For the speed.” Or maybe because they just feel cool with silky, smooth, super, supple, soft legs–for a day. Yes, I do shave my legs, but not in some crazy cyclist fashion, even though I manage to ride an average of four days a week. No, I shave because of my ski boots. And because I am not one hundred percent confident in my masculinity (not true I swear), I don’t take those babies down from the groin to the ankle either. Nope, I take it off only where the intense pain lies in my ski boots–right in the shin. You see, what happens as I ski day-in and day-out those little shin hairs get wedged between my ski sock and ski boot and every time that I pressure into a turn, those hairs get torqued. Torqued to the point of ripping out. Just do it fast like a band-aid. So badly so that they will bleed profusely. Nice. When my wife is not looking, I steal her Bic in the shower, add her soap, and take those puppies down. And of course in pure manhood, I leave her the present of all of my leg hair floating in her razor. I usually hear the “fucking man” from the shower at 5am while I am still in a dazed dream state. Now we just need to add snow to this freakin’ winter.

  • Go the Fuck to Sleep

    Cover image of Jay's copy of children's book Go the Fuck to Sleep.

Now Go the F#%k to Sleep

They are nasty little things. Always dirty. Always full of disease. Runny noses. Dribble. Lice. The list could go on forever. A couple of weekends ago I got my one-day break. My day to sit on the couch, go out and photograph, ride, run whatever. The sky is the limit for that one day-Father’s Day. A celebration to me. And all the other Dad’s out there. Yeah! Freedom. No diapers. No noses. And I took full advantage of my wife, I mean…day. Now I know there are those dad’s out there who are full of heart and goodness, who in a soft spoken, well thought out prose, state that today is a day for my kids and whatever they want to do, I want to do with them. Really? I thought the idea was to be like that every other day? Well, welcome to Jay’s new revival edition of Father’s Day my friends. Kid’s, wife, and dog even are a minute itch in the proverbial pants. Sayōnara. For twenty four hours.

I know this is not the way it is for everyone, but thank god my wife sees eye-to-eye with me here. On Mother’s Day she gets the same freedom and a little token of my appreciation. One of my tokens this year was a book. A book that puts into words what most parents feel at one time or another. A book that speaks the words many a parent has often spoken, if only under their breath. And for me who usually speaks his mind without any kind of buffer or filter, can relate to on a full-scale level. If you haven’t or don’t believe you will feel any of the aforementioned, god bless you, you are a rarity.

If you still don’t know what I am talking about, the masterful book was written by Adam Mansbach and is narrated by Samuel L. JacksonGo the F#%ck to Sleep. It arrived in the mail today and I read it cover to cover with my wife Heather. We are still laughing and probably will until we die. It speaks the truth in its entirety. Yes, it is exactly how I feel every single night at bedtime–especially right now up here in the north, as the sun is going down at 9:30pm and it isn’t completely dark until midnight. Kid’s are the quintessential opposite of moths on a porch lamp. They only sleep when it is dark. Not a moment before, not a moment after. Our sleeping hours are very short right now. The work day is really long. Great, I can try and make some money if I don’t have…“The twins keep us on Centaurian time, standard thirty-seven hour day. Give it a few months. You’ll get used to it…or you’ll have a psychotic episode.”–Zed from Men in Black. So with that said, here is a page from my new favorite book:

“The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest

And the creatures who crawl, run, and creep.

I know you’re not thirsty. That’s bullshit. Stop lying.

Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep.”–from the book Go the F#%ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach.

Children Smiling with a Conspiring  Look

Thank you and have a good night. Love you Jade and Micah very much. Now go the…

  • The Monkey by Jay Goodrich

    A for-hire monkey poses for a portrait in Yang Shao China.

Eyes Wide Shut

There are photographers, who are friends of mine, who feel the need to classify themselves as one type of photographer or the other. I often wonder why? Is it some kind of foot stomping justification? I only shoot landscapes. I only shoot weddings. Does the photographic world truly believe that by shooting only one subject that you then can be classified as an expert in that area? For some reason history always wants to tag artists, despite the medium, in one place or the other. Picasso was classified as a cubist, because of his abstract perspective that he is well known for. However, if you look back at the overall history of his work, he was much more than just a cubist. He actually painted realism at points during his career. And he often scoffed at the critics who said he was a cubist. He thought of himself as an artist and nothing more.

So why can’t photographers just say they are a photographer? And, in addition to this, why can’t photographers apply everything they know and love about one discipline of photography to any other? If you explore all of the options in life you might actually discover that there is more to like. Remember when your parents forced brussels sprouts down your throat? “Just try them, if you don’t like them, you don’t have to eat them.” Well maybe I shouldn’t have used brussels sprouts because I freakin’ hate those things. “Gently now, you just wanna kiss the ground, just a little peck, a smooch like you’re kissing your sister.” [Plane violently lands and the tires break off]–Skipper in Madagascar 2. Or maybe I should have? Maybe all of those photographers who stand with a fist declaring their focus on only landscape, wedding, or sports photography have tried all of the other sprouts and landed at their current location?

What I love so much about my life is the day to day swing in what I may or may not be doing. I have also found that having multiple focuses allows for a simultaneous strengthening of all as I grow as an artist. One concept or style may work throughout architecture, adventure, and nature. I also find that I am never board with one or the other because I am not eating brussels sprouts everyday. Again, not the best analogy. Let’s say green beans or broccoli–things I like, but not as much as the fruit addiction my wife claims that I have. If it’s green it should be partaken of on a very limited basis. Much like wedding photography. Wait. Wait. Before you get angry. I know many who are amazing in their creation of wedding images. Weddings though, are my brussels sprouts.

Wait a minute, I think I just answered all of my questions. Shoot what you love. Apparently, I have multiple mistresses. They all have different, yet surprisingly similar flavors. Maybe that is why I love them so. To get back on point here, you should try shooting other aspects of photography. Head out there, shoot some images of something that you never even considered photo worthy. Then come back here and post a link to what you created. And let me know if it was brussels sprouts or triple-layer chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting. You know, like mom used to make?

  • Hoodoo Formations Bisti New Mexico by Jay Goodrich

    Hoodoo formations at sunset during the summer heat in the Bisti Wilderness in New Mexico.

Getting Lost in Bisti

I have navigated through Denali National Park for 10 days and maintained my whereabouts. I have flown multiple aircraft across most of the United States and arrived at my destination without fail. This past weekend was a different for some reason, maybe some weird star was misaligned in the universe. I managed to visit a place that has been on my list for over a decade. A place I have researched and read about since then. I listened to all of the warnings and all of the advice. I brought plenty of water, the map I found online, the directions I found online, and my Brother-in-Law’s GPS, which happens to be the same GPS that I own. And what happened, that’s right, I GOT LOST!

Now getting lost is a state of mind. Was I really lost? My personal definition of lost is finally getting found by search and rescue with little to no food and water after spending a few unprepared nights out in the cold. If I put it that way then I was not lost, but I still didn’t find what I was looking for, so yes, I guess I was lost. I am not sure if the map is a bit off, or my navigation skills a bit off, or the fact that this is a desert with rolling hills and what I was looking for could have been right there behind me like that Predator thing in the jungles of South America.

I looked and walked and looked and walked, but to no avail the Egg Factory that many others have seen in the Bisti Wilderness of Northern New Mexico managed to keep its place on my photography wish list. I did still photograph, there were formations all over the place, just not those eggs which to borrow from another movie look like they came from Aliens. This is all okay, I know I will return because I have family in Albuquerque. One thing that will definitely happen is that I will return in the fall or even the winter when it is a bit cooler than the balmy 100 degrees I got to walk around in. Oh, and I will bring a friend or my wife so we can argue about what direction we need to go. Then after an hour or so I will finally listen to what she has to say and then there will be those eggs right before us to photograph just in time to be eaten by an Alien.

  • JayGoodrich-Portrait-1

Message of The Day – From Heather

I don’t care if you lick windows, take the special bus or occasionally pee on yourself…

You hang in there sunshine, you’re special.

Every sixty seconds you spend angry, upset or mad, is a full minute of happiness you’ll never get back.

Today’s Message of the Day is:

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile…

Thanks Wife…and Art. I think?