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Now don't get me wrong here, the last few years were packed full of experiences i could never have dreamed up, some really good ones, others were difficult and trying. But overall, i was able to do things i never had before and help others in a way that was entirely new to me - there is definitely a peaceful use from social media. 

For me, it hadn't become some blatant obsession, contrarily i was simply not focused on the things that mattered the most, like what i was actually doing to begin with. It was this sort of linear thinking that got me stuck in a loop of: "hey, this will work on instagram" as opportunities and jobs came more abundantly i found myself repeating this all the stronger, less focused on what i was producing, more focused on what was being produced for me. By all means, use social media, have fun with it and do so wisely, but look at this more as a cautionary tale from someone who should have known better - it is not the end all, be all. 

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You knew that already i'm sure, but if you're reading this, you can probably take a swing that you already understand the underlying issue: myself. It's the one thing we always seem to overlook when we're dealing with a struggle. 

Hope.

i am forever expectant of good things to come, not in a "i deserve that!" kind of way, but in a strong-willed, "i'm gonna go after that!" way. Since i was young, i've had this ambition and level of creativity, it's got something to do with my imagination and growing up in a wooded little area in Southern Oregon, when it's nothing but rain and fog outside, you have to think of something, and so think i did. Drawing, design, photography, building, all of these things have interested me and been in my practice either since i was a young child or a young teenager, as i have evolved, i have always wanted a LOUD PLATFORM TO SHARE IT ON! But as you grow, you soon realize that isn't totally necessary. The people who want to find it, will seek it out, and there's no need to go around shouting about what i have going on in my life in order to get people to listen, sometimes you can just talk. 

So, what's next?

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 i am as excited as i can be to let you know that i will continue to share and grow 1924us as a branding and design studio, with massive projects in the works lately, i don't see us letting up anytime soon, right now it's just a new set of challenges: How to survive without the access to a social media audience. Now we still have roughly 20,000 visitors a week to the 1924 site, so you can do the math on that, there's a large volume of people who come through and want to read, but its not such an accessible "hey cool post!" "wow" "great job" sort of thing, the people who want to engage really have to go out of their way (I'm talking to you few who have commented on my last few posts, you know who you are!) but not so far out of their way that they feel left out. 

We are working on a new design section of the website, a new book, called Defeat (seriously it's going to be one of my best works along AKQA's very own Ajaz Ahmed) new photography posts, new journals, new items for the shop. Through 1924us as a site i wanted to build a home-like experience where you don't have to go and follow us on all these social medias and try to keep up with an ever-changing number of new channels that seem to hold us to opening new tabs, new apps, new this and that... i just wanted to simplify the whole experience. 

So though i have left something behind, it is not me who is gone, just an app. The audience who endures will come to listen, and read, and peruse and that's the experience i want to elicit. There will be all sorts of things for me as a person to share with you on a deeper level, (plus you get to see my landscape photos now, i mean C'MON that's a plus right there) while some people will think leaving instagram is a limiting thing, that it's done damage or put some off... i'd say the opposite is true: 

There is only everything else to come now, and i'm ready to embrace it. 
 

 
 

i long to write to you about some adventure that i was on, maybe in some daring turn of events i had something epic to tell you, but that's not the story i have. Instead, i am here to describe to you the whole of what took place and in the end, why i walked away. 

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For most of you, (assuming of course that "most of you" fall within the category which i'm addressing) it isn't hard to see that social media of all kinds is absolutely entrenched into our daily lives. It is rooted so deeply, that it defines entire conversations, relationships, opportunities and much more. While i promise to make this not a "damn the technology!" sort of speech, i can't promise that i don't utter those words at some point or another during my week.  

i left Instagram, and while i won't bore you with the numbers of it all, i do know the numbers by which i was defined for the past few years, and it topped out at 605,000. Followers, a number of people, robots and businesses that "follow" me along on my journeys through sponsored posts, travel experiences, and personal relationships. In my head, i humbled myself as often as i could - not often enough truth told - but still, i drudged on through the cyclical process of, go, photograph, edit, post, observe. i could have a conversation with massive design firms and hear "We love your instagram" and a piece of me felt missing. i'd have random (and nearly always delightful) strangers come up to me to talk of how they loved my work, and a piece of me felt missing. i'd go home to my family where they would ask about my recent expeditions, and where Instagram had taken me, what i was working on, what, what, what, your, your your... 

i was missing. 

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Though i could never have admitted it before, all the "success" drained me of my own ability to deal with the ever-growing problem: self-awareness, or the lack thereof rather. i believe ferociously that my intentions with social media has always been, well, let's say about 60% good. 
i'd write these longwinded, poorly reviewed words of hope and 'off-the-cuff' emotions that i was dealing with and slap it underneath a photograph i'd semi liked. This isn't some cut at the crowds of kind people who followed and heard and really saw themselves in the truth of my work, it's more an honest review of the darker side of what was going on while so many were clicking "like" and "follow". While i was showcasing the tip-top, best moments of my life, i was tip-toeing around the shattered remains of my relationships (of all kinds) and pointing the blame at all of them, ever-fearful of stepping on something that may hurt me; honesty. 

 

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We have a word for honesty now, it isn't really honesty, it's just rebranded. We call it authenticity, or genuineness, and now these are words you can buy on tee-shirts, they come attached to people like me with glazed-over eyes to the reality of their definitions. i can't tell you how many groups i've sat down with to talk about purely Instagram. if you think that's sad, you're right. i didn't use social media originally as a drug, but it was a crutch. i thought to myself "if i'm doing ok here, if my bank looks fine, if i can pay the bills and take care of others and show the world how well i'm doing then it has to be real." This was not the start of my false-self, but it is the underlying foundation of it. So what was going on didn't really reflect my state of being, even if i was writing books and traveling to breathtaking places just to shout it in the faces of thousands of listeners, "I'M OKAY!" i'd scream out, and the minute someone would counter with a disagreement, i'd yell back, "WHAT DID I DO WRONG?" cowering in the corner between my kitchen door and the fridge, my hair matted to the dust where the broom goes, tears of confusion resting on my cheeks.  Authentic. If i had to honestly describe myself during the past few years, it would be: self obsessive, delusional, manipulative, cowardly, and oh does that list go on. And just before you reach into your pocket for change to throw at the beggar in the street i seem to sound like, let me tell you, these are not words of self-hate, just honest. They are not reflective of me now, thank God, all the same, we have our growth to go through. 

It's a lesson and i learned. For the past year i have gone through what was undoubtedly the most challenging year of my life, and it brought out the man in me. Masculinity not defined by my car, my finances or stories of some half-built fame, deep and flourishing masculinity that comes out of confrontation and confession - taking on the worst in yourself to be best for others. i wanted to run from this, run and run, and not look back, like a child who hides his hands after throwing rocks at windows (thanks Johnny Cash) and boy let me tell you, i threw some rocks. 

i was a wildfire of a child, my emotions rode me to the ground and i lashed out like a crazy man flailing about when the nurses try to tie down his arms. In my past life i was that little scrappy kid pickpocketing and playing poor-boy when caught redhanded. i learned how to turn this wildfire of emotions and circumstance to my benefit, i'd talk it out and call it passion, and funnel it into what i'd call work, and others if they could see me, would call scratching by. Now, 25, and Myspace, Tumblr and Instagram behind me, all things society would think i was 'good' at defined me for about 10 years. Some will tell you it's not about the numbers, but really in this day of first world society, thats what it becomes. Actually, i'll counter my own statement and say that social media is more about self-glorification. Ouch. Hard thing to hear, really though think about why you do it, why you Snapchat, or Instagram, or Tumblr, or Tinder, or Facebook.
I'd tell people it was about "sharing" and "i like to see what others have to think" and "well it's fun to..." this and that and every other thing you can think of that would take me away from facing the hard truth of calling it like it is: self-glorification. Now of course, you can have a business from it, but if you're not on there simply to make money, you're on there to buy into it or yourself. There's no other realistic explanation (well there might be, but i don't know it) for why you would get on and write about or photograph yourself, it's to see how others react. If you were doing it just for you, then you'd have no earthly reason to share it anywhere.

To be continued... 

 
 

It has been sometime since we've tried our hand at getting back into the blogging schedule. It's not an easy one. The transition takes more dedication than I have allowed, in order to find ourselves in living the stories we've been neglecting to share. But now, there are stories after stories, like a rich ocean full of nutrients: we have so much to finally share with all of you. And I'd like to do it correctly from this point on. So to start I will say that just a few weeks ago I was traveling back from Alaska through Montana on what was supposed to be one of the last adventures I was to take this year. While there, I ran into the ever-inspiring Alex Strohl, who through and through has put the rest of us "instagram-era explorers" to the test. He's one of the few who really do get out in the world in a genuine way, one which even I can't match. 

He subsequently invited me on a last minute trip to Iceland alongside Benjamin Hardman, where, all three of us found ourselves together in good company fighting for day break to help us. Light was not our friend this trip but simultaneously did everything to help us...

In the dark of dusk, we found fog laden mountains that rendered the grown wet beneath us. The rock slipped constantly and once we got to a point no longer surpassable we simply laid down our efforts.   

In the dark of dusk, we found fog laden mountains that rendered the grown wet beneath us. The rock slipped constantly and once we got to a point no longer surpassable we simply laid down our efforts. 
 

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Though there were many issues along the way in Iceland, we did happen upon a last few incredible days, full of blessings and good light - though weather was not our friend in these moments. On the most eastern Fjords of the small Atlantic Island, we battled biting rain while the quiet minds and full hearts of the locals kept us warm. 

 
 
 
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Through an array of mountain ranges and other land-formations we had the pleasure of enjoying our own individual solitude as we also delved into light-hearted conversations that kept our breath short. As I sit in reflection of the quickness of everything, I can't help but announce my excitement for all things to come in my life and those around me. All that I have put my effort into is slowly and assuredly finding itself paced well in my life. 

I am happy to have you along with us. 

 
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