Photos in Fall / Workshop by Kendra Archer

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Well, there's a first time for everything... After being approached a couple months ago by an old colleague of mine brainstorming a photography work shop idea, I held my first workshop yesterday. Is this real life? I returned home last night to messages from instagram followers asking me when my next one would be, and did I have another date set etc... wait what?

I can't thank the crew at Arc'teryx enough for reaching out to me, and for organizing the entire event. Beyond the scope of what yesterday did for me, we did a lot of good raising a ton of money for Lions Bay Search & Rescue. The clinic alone brought in roughly 300$ and the evening's silent art auction another 1000$ +. What a great day, and great community to feel a part of in Vancouver. 

As for the workshop it self it ran as smoothly as one could hope for as a first timer. I was undoubtedly nervous and a little scattered at first, but I learned a lot in hosting yesterday and have come home with a lot of great ideas and thoughts on how to improve the next. Everyone was happy and excited to be out there shooting photos despite the downpour that the mountains sent our way. Constant rain isn't terribly conducive to standing or sitting still and listening, next time a warm and dry starting point might be helpful! Despite that, it seemed most of our crew had never been out to this trail in particular, so it was a fresh spot for most. A nice crew of new faces to hang out with and teach some tips and tricks to. The bulk of the time was spent wandering and taking photos, and keeping as warm as we could. All in all I think it went pretty well despite my nerves. and I really enjoyed it. It looks like this kind of thing just might resonate with more people and there's something to be done here with hosting photography clinics.

Here's to diving into the fall and brainstorming for the future. 

Hidden City | Photography Show by Kendra Archer

Off we go! After the first stages of planning we're finally ready to launch our show! We have a few posters that will be circling on both of our media platforms, Elvira and I are stoked to invite everyone to our opening on July 22nd. Here's one of many poster with all the details!

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2017. A VERY LATE UPDATE:

Our show went incredibly well! Our entire evening was spent running around and chatting with our closest friends and family who came out to support us and introducing ourselves to new comers who walked in off the streets. Elvira and I both sold quite a few prints, and by the end of the night were full of joy and gratitude. We have a fantastic evening and couldn't thank all of those that supported us and helped put the show together enough. Here's hoping another show is to come soon enough!

Out and About by Kendra Archer

On a camping trip in Tofino, BC September 2015 a week or so before my 21st birthday and starting my first job in outdoor retail.

On a camping trip in Tofino, BC September 2015 a week or so before my 21st birthday and starting my first job in outdoor retail.

What 1.5 Years in Outdoor Retail has Given Me

It's weird to think that a day job could affect me so deeply, but the last two have revolutionized my life completely. As photography continues to sit on the sidelines I've been surviving off of full time work in a variety of areas. Starting off fresh out of school with a coffee shop in Montreal, and once I moved to Vancouver a small "photography" gallery for my first year and a half settling in. Once I moved into outdoor retail everything changed. Everything made sense and I was were I should be.

I felt like I was an outsider stepping foot into this secret world I'd always dreamed of. I didn't grow up camping or hiking regularly. I'd be lucky to see the woods a couple times a year, feeling thirsty every minute in between. Camping might happen once a year, and you can forget about any adventure sports like skiing, surfing, climbing or kayaking. I grew up on Vancouver Island surrounded by an outdoor culture of which I never participated. Instead I was at home drooling over photography books and Planet Earth documentaries. I sat dreaming that one day maybe I could take those photos and be in those places. The time and money needed for a life outdoors is a whole other subject in itself, but it's not cheap and being the last of 4 kids it just wasn't affordable for us.  

So here I was setting foot in the industry, full of passion and willingness to learn with absolutely zero knowledge. All my coworkers were avid backpackers, climbers, skiers, trail runners etc and I was a whole lot of of "well, I never have but I'd love to ". A lot of wants, and wishes and also a lot of doubt and shame. "I'm not outdoorsy enough." Had been my go to phrase the whole summer leading up to that first job. Once I moved to Vancouver I started hiking and trail running on the North Shore on my own, and as my passion grew and seemed to become more doable I began to questions where I was working. I wasn't passionate about the work I did at the gallery, I was apathetic (it was a sports photography gallery, and I don't follow organised sports. At all). Each time a tourist walked into the gallery asking for information on sights to see and hikes to do I would light up and talk their faces off. I wanted more of that. I began to brainstorm and throw the idea out to friends that maybe I should work for an outdoor company, but every time I mentioned it I followed with :

but, I'm not outdoorsy enough.

Eventually I handed out my resumes despite myself. Maybe I didn't think I was good enough, but my friends supported me and I felt assured - regardless there was nothing to lose and only to gain. The motions are the same when faced with any challenge, the disbelief that you can handle it eventually turns into a willingness to try regardless of the outcome. Even a loss is a win, because you learn something every time. I got not 1, not 2, but 3 job offers with different outdoor companies. I was in disbelief. I chose the first and stayed for a while until returning from a long trip and deciding to hop over to a more challenging role with another company. That decision in itself wouldn't have been possible without the first role. The team I worked with were a beautiful bunch of people and I have made lasting connections. The retail position was by far the most socially demanding job I had ever had - and at that point I still considered myself a shy introvert. It pushed me to interact way more in a team, and with the public all day everyday, something I hadn't been used to before.

I gained an incredible amount of confidence.

In a short period I went from feeling like an outsider with my tail between my legs to feeling like I could take on the world. I left the sales floor position to move on to another company convinced I could take on the challenge, nervous but no longer doubting my abilities. The culture that surrounds outdoor companies is open, inviting, inclusive and supportive. Or at least it is in my experiences. Feeling like an inexperienced and ashamed newbie, to now being confident and ready to jump in to everything. In the last year and a half I have not only experienced so much more of the outdoors but grown my personal portfolio in the direction I have always wanted it to go.

Among some of the most amazing things I have been able to do directly thanks to these companies and the people I have met through them are : Kit myself out with outdoor clothing and gear at a minimal price, spend a day assisting a catalog photographer at corporate headquarters, photograph multiple in store events, learn to surf, kayak for the first time on a 4 day paddle/camping trip in Howe Sound, get past my biggest fear and rock climb in Squamish, spend 3 days trail running in Manning Park, backpack through Garibaldi park, ride a bike for the first time in a decade in Pemberton (now I cycle all the time), get sniffed by a bear in my tent on that same trip, learn to paddle board, learn to snowboard and travel alone for the first time. Amazing. 

All these experiences have helped me shape my life and push myself in the right direction, and in every direction. These are day jobs and yet they have fueled so much inside of me to push myself, challenge myself and I have so much to be thankful for. I can't imagine I would speak of a coffee shop, or gallery in the same way. Not because they can't offer this kind of growth or self discovery, but because they didn't offer them to me. Since walking into my first job full of doubt, insecurity and shyness to now be the person who travels alone in order to keep pushing myself to learn and explore sports and activities- I've come a long way since 2015! I know I could write on this topic and my experience for ages, but I think it's best to wrap it up before I get carried away. Instead I'll leave it to bullets and photos to share the epic ride this has all been.

  • I've learned to trust myself to make the right decision or to clean up the mess of my own mistakes. Doing this makes you unstoppable, because you know either way you're going to handle what life throws at you. Waiting for someone else to come into your life and hold your hand is a waste of time - you can do it yourself. Whatever it is.
     
  • I've learn more about who I am, and I've embraced it. The more you allow yourself through the more authentic your life becomes and the easier it is to just be.
     
  • It's hard for me, like many to love my body, but even if I don't love it wholly - I support it. I've learned so much in how to care for myself the way I need to. It's a constant struggle to own how my body looks and to feel confident but it helps in focusing on what it does for me. You (a body) are not just to be looked at, you are a useful human being. My body moves me up mountains, over snow and through water, it pushes me physically and mentally. That's fucking awesome, and that's beautiful.
     
  • A balanced life is a happy life. While adventure is addictive and invigorating, I've learned the hard way that rest is just as necessary. With every up is a down, and with every push a take. Learn to embrace the mellow do nothing side of life, your body and mind will thank you.
     
  • Lastly, embrace every single learning opportunity. Everyone at some point was a beginner, and had no idea what they were doing. Whether that is in the office, on the mountain or in a relationship. Everyone is just trying to figure this out

 



 

Home by Kendra Archer

After 5 weeks of travelling and being home now for almost two weeks, the rhythm of home life has yet to fully catch up to me. Only now am I getting a chance to sit down, sift through photos and finally write a word or two. One of the best decisions I made while traveling was to listen to myself completely. Within the first week or so in Morocco I realized I didn't want to write blog updates, I didn't want to dissect my trip like I do so often, I just wanted to be. Easy.

I didn't want to take away from everything, or the nothing, I was doing to sit and write. I love writing, but for once I thought I'd do things differently. I dove into the time and space I had over the 5 weeks more than ever before. I focused on the beautiful landscapes I was crossing, the beautiful people I was meeting and the physical challenges I was setting myself up for.

A few things I have to thank for the amazing experience:

I only did what I wanted and when I wanted to.
I planned most of my trip from home in November, booking all my flights and hostels in advance. Once I started to solo section of my trip (the last 3 weeks) I started to really embrace everything I wanted to do, I didn't have to take in to consideration a travel buddy or family member's wants. I did whatever I wanted when I wanted! So when I decided to stay longer at my surf camp I did, when I wanted to drink my face off despite an early flight or train ride I did. When I needed solo time to nap, lounge, or draw it was readily available. It was my first time travelling alone, and it definitely won't be the last. 

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I put social media on the back burner.
I didn't bother updating my blog past Morocco. I didn't want to feel any pressure from myself to be creating content, whether that was blog posts or photos. I left my laptop to be used for netflix and online banking while my camera basically lived in my pack from the moment I landed in Portugal. My phone allowed me to take quick fun shots of what I was doing for memory's sake and my large DSLR just sat catching dust - and I'm so happy it did. Instead of being caught up in the thought that I had to be taking photos, sacrificing time with new friends, or sacrificing time on the slopes I left it behind. I just wanted to be present, not documenting. After all this wasn't a work trip, it was a trip for me. I also love the feeling that I will come back somewhere. I focused on taking photos in Morocco fairly certain that it would be the trip of a life time. Knowing full well that I will return to Portugal and France again I allowed myself to have a "scouting" trip. I know I'll be back - and I'll know exactly where to go for the shot I want. Until then, photos taken on my phone serve just as well for the memories.

I learned to be even more flexible than usual.
I'm very easy going; but I'm also a huge planner. I like having everything booked before leaving for a trip as a way of staying relaxed and grounded. This time around I noticed myself sink into the rhythm of traveling more than ever and craving slower and longer trips. When I decided to extend my surf camp session I wished I could've extended it even longer but an already booked plane ticket to France meant I had to leave and I missed out on a road trip with hostel friends. A sweet lesson for a next time I travel - plan but leave way more wiggle room for unexpected changes.

 

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I embraced all my fuck ups with laughter. 
My week and a bit in Portugal was littered with injuries due to surfing and my own stupidity. I almost ended up at the hospital but after being told it was a 65 Euro charge instead I let my wound heal on its own. Afraid I wouldn't be able to snowboard a few days later I really lucked out and had to thank my own body for bouncing back so quickly. Those were easy enough to laugh off, but when I left my passport, laptop and 300 Euros on my train ride back to Paris ... it took me a bit longer to start laughing. I only noticed 15 minutes before I was about to leave for the airport and I am again so lucky in that I have a French Passport too, so I still made it home. The funniest part of it all, is that the laptop was a replacement laptop for my previous one that had been stolen when my house was broken into only months before my trip. Funny how the world works sometimes. In any case, going home safe and sound down electronics and a few hundred euro isn't the worst scenario there is out there. 

Now I'm home, and since landing have jumped right back into work without letting go of the play. I've squished in as much time as possible with friends and hitting the mountains to snowboard. All the while focusing myself again on my personal work and planning some exciting new projects for the spring and fall. Looking forward to getting back into things here in Vancouver before setting off again soon enough. 

 

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