I’m currently reading Bernd Heinrich’s new book “Racing the Clock” on how his last nearly 80 years of running and thinking about the natural world have intertwined. Heinrich has lived in Western Maine on and off since childhood and many of the ultramarathon records he set were on a track not that far from my house. I’ve read a number of his ecology books over the last 20 years or so but this book and perspective feel very personal to me as I’m also running in Maine most days looking at the trees, animals, and built environment that surrounds me. His research on animal behavior and early work on respiration and thermoregulation really draws you into his points about how natural running is for humans as a species and the evolutionary reasons we do so well running long distances. When I’m running well, it feels like the most natural thing in the world. It feels like I’m doing what I’m meant to do.
Back in 2015, I wanted to photograph and film running projects for clients because it’s one of my favorite and most consistent parts of my life. I figured it would be fun to meet more runners and be part of a larger community of runners. I partnered up with my friend Dylan and we hired some friends and social media connections to be our running models so we could build our portfolios. We wanted some cool new clothes for the models to wear so we also reached out to Janji, a local running apparel company, and asked if we could have some outfits for the project and they said yes! Janji donates a portion of its profits to water nonprofits every season, designs clothing lines inspired by a geographic region, and works with a local artist each season.
That first connection began a long working relationship that sent me to Uganda, Bolivia, Cambodia, and the Philippines alongside Dylan, Eliza, and Jess. I’ve had a chance to run with so many new friends in new environments and get very tired carrying camera gear all over the world.
This year, Janji pivoted to doing more of their photography and filmmaking in the United States to keep everything a little more manageable and adaptable for COVID precautions. I was very happy to be brought on to film with some amazing teams in California, New Mexico, and Utah. We’ve been having a little more fun as time goes on to capture more little stories or concepts for the videos like two friends handing off baking supplies when they meet up for runs or a running video game. In addition to the ads we created, I was also lucky to get to work on a story on Christian Gering, a runner, artist, and activist who helped design the fall/winter 2021 line. That project is a whole other blog post though.
It’s been fun to come back season after season to try and challenge myself to create something new. I’ve put together a reel of some of my favorite clips: