Jul 28, 2009 at 5:37 am #1238133
@alfrescoLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Portraits of PCT thru hikers, book idea
My husband is a professional photographer. His specialty is creating
publicity photos for the motion picture industry (movie stills). Between
movies he contributes to the largest stock photography agencies in
He is thinking about doing a photo book on PCT thru hikers. The book
would be nothing but portraits of the hikers, photographed as they are
about half way to Canada, somewhere in Northern California. These
would not be snap shots, they would lit and photographed with more
of a "fine art" approach.
He would reserve about month of time, be available seven days a
week, at a specific place every day, a well signed location right
on the PCT. No detours or route finding required for the hiker to do this.
Each photograph would include their name, the date, age, where they
are from, and a short message of their choosing. They would be photo-
graphed as is; no cleaning up, no fussing about, he would not "direct"
them. It would take about 5 – 10 minutes of their time. Each person
(or couple) would receive in return; a digital, high resolution copy of the
image mailed to them, and a beverage of their choice and a snack of
some sort after the sitting. All he would want in return is a signed
model release and a small amount of their time.
Examples of his work can be seen on his website: http://www.koberfoto.com
What do all you hikers think of this idea? Do you think there is a audiance
for this for this type of book? Do you think the hikers would stop? Any
problems signing a model release? What questions or concerns would you have?
Please share your thoughts and ideas here or you can email my husband
directly through his webpage.
We are still in the development stages so any and all input and ideas would
Thank you for your time.
LisaJul 28, 2009 at 6:42 am #1516991
@markmclauchlinLocale: Western Australia
Awesome idea I think. Go for it!Jul 28, 2009 at 7:38 am #1517001
@atomickLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Absolutely do it. I've considered a project like this but never could spare the time. Some research may suggest some places along the PCT that would be where thruhikers might be coming off the trail and willing to pose for a moment, rather than waylaying them mid-trail. :-) Definitely get those shots before they get cleaned up!
I've always had a certain percentage of strangers decline the model release, but that's historically been quite a small amount. Keep the sheaf of releases to show off how many have already signed up and it gets easier and easier.
For inspiration from similar projects of the past, check out Clay Enos's "Street Studio" work, which has been done from the streets of Manhattan to the desert of Burning Man. Very much inspired by the work of Richard Avedon (Clay was the onset photog for the Watchmen, and his "Watchmen Portraits" book is stellar).Jul 28, 2009 at 7:48 am #1517003
I don't have any idea about ease of access, but how about at the Canadian border? Then your book will truly have a compilation of thru hikers instead of potential thru hikers. The hikers might welcome the chance to have a professional capture that moment for them.
Photographing there will also allow you to capture some extra gnarly beards!
Just my 2c.Jul 28, 2009 at 8:33 am #1517010
@beepLocale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
While the photos may catch the eye, I think it would be the individual stories that provide illustration to help "tell the tale" and would make the book worth buying.
I have some concerns about who would buy this book and why they would want it. While I have huge respect for thru hikers (and not a little envy!), it's the stories they tell, the context for their trip, the transformations they may undergo that create interest.
It would be interesting to see portraits/stories/updates on the same hikers 1 year later, an "after" view to bookend the "before" on-trail view.Jul 28, 2009 at 9:58 am #1517021
BUT… There is the annual class CD that kind of covers this already.
Better might be to include stories (as mentioned above) – how one got their trail names, funny stuff that happened, etc. along with the photos.Jul 28, 2009 at 10:06 am #1517024
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Having hiked the pct… I'd say most hikers would stop. There will be some fiercely independent types that won't. But there are more and more "partiers" that love stuff like this. And most people are willing to stop for food/trail magic. There have been photojournalist thruhikers before, but i haven't seen their work. People were mostly happy with the onslaught of pictures.
As for whether there is a market for it… That's your realm. I'd guess that it should primarily be a labor of love. Most of the movies made haven't made much money. I wouldn't buy it. It's just another thing to sit in storage while i hike. It better be on 100% recycled paper though!
Good luck. I think it's an incredibly neat idea.
Myself in Norcal:
Jul 29, 2009 at 3:02 pm #1517429
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Jack H. beat me to it.
Most would stop, I'd say the vast majority so long as it's not a particular situation where, for example, it's a long way between water or they're close to (and looking forward to) a town stop. Site selection should be a shaded low-insect nice-to-take-a-break anyway place with a cooler full of a variety of cold drinks (trail magic). Bonus points for fresh fruit, and a garbage sack (so they're not expected to carry away their empties).
I would wager that most would sign any reasonable release.
Unless somehow specially marketed, I can't see much of an audience for this; the primary audience is the folks that are hiking the trail. I find I'm a whole lot more interested in others who hiked it the same year I did, whether or not I actually met that person on the trail.
I might be way off on the marketing aspect, however, not my field of expertise. But it seems like there are a lot of people who have dreams of writing a book about their PCT experience; some few actually do it, but I'm skeptical that any reach a very wide audience, Bill Bryson's AT example being the notable exception (and that by an established author).
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