Twerk’s Favorite PCT Portraits
If you know my work, you know that I love portraiture. I could be on the highest mountain looking at the most gorgeous view I’ve ever seen, but I wouldn’t give one fuck about pulling out my DSLR if there isn’t someone to photograph in front of that view. I find people way more interesting than scenery. Have you ever had a mountain act shy while you’re taking photos of it? Did you ever have a tree “work it, girl” in front of the camera? Maybe on a thorizene trip, but I’m talking about actually taking someone’s portrait. Everyone is different and everyone photographs in their own unique way. That’s the main reason I love portraiture because it gives me a deeper insight into the person I am taking a photo of. This was 90% of the reason I wanted to hike the PCT - was to photograph hikers.
To be honest, the Hiker Trash Vogue series I did on the trail this year started as a big joke. I thought I was being hilarious when I told all my hiker friends to grab a random piece of gear and go all ‘Tyra’ on their outdoor products. That very first thread of 9 photos I took in Wrightwood (Mile 369) is what changed the course of my hike. Why? Because I was finally just being myself behind the camera after a long creative dry spell.
I’m a silly dude. Photography I take seriously, but life I do not. Hiker Trash Vogue is me in photo form. It’s a representation of everything I love: the outdoors, backpacking, editorial photography, people and intimate moments with those people. I created this project from the true nature of my heart, and I think people saw that, at least I hope they did.
While a lot of my photos are staged and somewhat ridiculous, there wasn’t a lot of thought put into them. It was in the moment, I saw something pretty and saw a hiker and said, “OK. Stand here, do this, do that. Stop laughing so we can get this shit done. Ok, we got the shot. Thanks for your patience. Sorry I’m a dick.” I’m a bossy little bitch, but it gets the job done.
During my hike and now having completed the trail, I get a lot of messages asking about my camera gear and what kind of filters I use in my photographs. While it’s just a general question, it’s really unnecessary because photography is an art, and like any art form, it can’t be replicated. Just like I can never replicate the works of Annie Leibovitz or David LaChapelle. *I fucking wish*.
I thought this blog would be really helpful to those who have reached out to me, or have thought about it and haven’t. Whether you’re a day hiker, weekend backpacker or are planning a thru hike in the near future, this blog is for you. I wanted to give you a genuine insight of what I find fascinating and what I consider raw, genuine photography.
Here is a collection of some photos from the Pacific Crest Trail this past year. The first photo I just saw a day ago when it was posted by Cool Runnings (Brian Steadman - @basteadman). It’s by far one of the most beautiful portraits I have seen from the trail this year. The expression is honest, the hues on his face are captivating and the photo let’s you tell your own story or ask the right questions.
This collection of trail photography will hopefully give you an idea of how I see portraiture and the individuality that goes into creating an image. Some of these are even taken with cell phones and disposable cameras. Which comes to my conclusion, when you’re telling a good story and taking a photo for YOU and not Instagram “likes”, you’ll see the results are spectacular. I hope this inspires you to be yourself the next time you put on your backpack and pick up a camera.
These were in no particular order, but I did save my favorite for last. Miraj’s portraits on the PCT this year are absolutely unreal. His work is by far some of my favorite trail photography, ever. I would post his whole thread if I had the time, so here are some of my favorites.
Honorable Mention: Because birds are people too.