Puppies, Penguins and a Princess. Photographing the most remote regions of the planet while keeping the lights on at home.
Most of us will tell you that you make money any way you can when starting. For others that might mean newborn photography, or weddings, or events, or headshots, etc. For me, it was a simple as sticking to my northern niche and creating as many revenue streams as I could to keep the lights on. Tourism campaigns, stock sales, licensing, climate change, education and photo adventure guiding just to name a few. That’s the what but what is the how?
My journey has never been direct and especially in the early years was dictated by two things. My desire to become better and my one rule to say yes to pretty much every offer, though I did have a few caveats. I shot for and with world-class athletes, adventure production companies like Camp Four, national publications like Photo Life, National Geographic Adventure, The Globe and Mail, non-profits, government organizations, marketing agencies, Expedition companies like One Ocean Expeditions and even the Royal Family for an entire week. Over the years I’ve been a photographer, a producer, a project manager, an outdoor guide, a researcher, a communications director, a writer and an educator. The common thread weaving its way thru these roles was my desire to document and tell stories and to uncover my unique vision.
At the end of the day, goals are important. Projects are important. Money is super important. But experience trumps them all. Experience is the warm blanket folded at the foot of the bed on an unseasonably chilly night, the towel around your neck as you hitch a ride across the galaxy, the ability to trust your gut when things look darkest and be ok with your choices in the light of day.
Focus more on building experience and less on becoming something specific and you will likely end up walking a path that is not just unique but extremely valuable. No matter the outcome.
It takes a certain personality to appreciate the details of a climate rarely inhabited by people. Curtis Jones has spent most of his career saturating himself in the polar regions of the planet, dividing his residency between Newfoundland and Nunavut, Canada. Over the last decade, his adventurous lifestyle has taken him across the Gobi Desert by kite buggy, on a 2300 km unsupported traverse of the Greenland Ice Cap, Antarctica, and a lifetime of climbing and exploration worldwide. Working for both the private and public sector, he has documented work for environmental initiatives, literacy, Canadian National Parks, climate change and tourism in the Canadian Arctic. Collaborating with world-class athletes, production teams, and local cultures and communities, he has built his career delivering a personal view of the raw, wild, and often untamed. His work has been seen in National Geographic Adventure, Canadian Geographic, The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, Photo Life and more. Between commercial clients, he is often seen leading photography workshops in the polar regions of the Earth, sharing his appreciation for adventure with others. A collector of interesting stories, Curtis is rarely seen far from a camera, tent, or a good punchline.