Because of this, we are transforming this art show so it is crowd-proof and you can enjoy it from the safety and comfort of your home. How? We have joined forces with David Brailey, our current resident, and we are sending postcards with his photographs with each of our online orders straight to you.
We have also added a link to the complete photography series, called “West of the range” so you can enjoy it on full-screen mode, and a fun Q&A below so you get to meet the artist himself.
Please make your coffee, get comfortable and read on!
Q&A with David Brailey
SAMPLE COFFEE: Dave, thanks heaps for being with us in this very first socially distant Pro Shop resident artist. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
DAVID BRAILEY: First things first, thank you for the opportunity and I hope I’m the only “socially distant artist” that’s needed!
I’m one of the lucky souls that have managed to make themselves a life in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. I grew up on the fringes of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in Sydney and spent my youth exploring the bush. I moved to the mountains around 20 years ago to climb and have never left. I still love to climb/boulder when I can, I work as a carpenter and over the past couple of years have developed a passion for BJJ, but deep down I will always be of climbing.
SC: When did your interest in photography start?
DB: My interest in photos probably started with the big stack of National Geographic magazines my family had growing up. More than the words, the images in those magazines had the ability to take you on journeys without leaving the house (sort of what we need now!).
After that, I guess it was in my twenties when climbing found me and I started going on trips to amazing places with equally amazing people. Photography was a chance to document these adventures.
SC: What type of photography do you prefer? What kind of scenes do you tend to capture?
DB: The very first thing I look for is a story. A picture paints a thousand words, so I guess you could say a documentary style is what appeals to me most.
My primary goal is capturing movement if that is available, but I also enjoy a landscape that can raise questions. Who doesn’t like a photo of a shed or mountain?
Most times, I don’t go out with a particular goal, though. I just go and see what the world throws at me.
SC: What does this art or craft mean to you? How does it make you feel?
DB: Well, I can’t draw and have hands that aren’t really designed for playing music, so photography gives me a chance to express myself artistically and not just physically. Not that my physical expressions can’t be artistic, [I believe] they are just not very good art!
It’s a great way to share how I see the world, and in a way, it makes me more conscious of my surroundings, trying to capture moments that only happen once.
When you capture one of those moments its a great feeling and of course, when others recognise this no matter how humble you are the ego always loves a bit of a stroke. But sometimes others might not see your story, and I think some of those photos are amongst my favourites.
I also believe there are moments when it is important to leave the camera behind and just be in a moment/place and take it in.
SC: This collection you are showing us is called “West of the Range”. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
DB: As a kid, I grew up watching Cowboy movies, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood all that stuff, and I have always have been more attracted to natural spaces rather than cities.
For a long time, we [David and friends] have gone west of the Blue Mountains to boulder at Tarana, and I always enjoyed the peacefulness out that way. I guess I just wanted to see what else, apart from climbing rocks, was out there.
All these photos were taken within a two-hour journey from my house.
I think we all can get caught up in wanting something greater. When we see images from around the world, we sometimes miss the most amazing things happening in our own backyards. I mean, everywhere is someone’s backyard, so why can’t yours be special?
SC: What emotions do you want to transmit with these pics? Or what questions do you want to trigger?
DB: I think the emotional response I am looking for is one of wonderment, trying to create a desire to get out and see what’s around your corner. I want people to ask themselves what adventure really is? Does it have to be a Patagonian epic, or can it bit a walk around your neighbourhood with open eyes?
Of course, it helps if your neighbourhood is Patagonia!
SC: How are you doing during these strange times? Has this new situation affected you and your surroundings much?
DB: Well, I’m trying to take my own advice and trying to make adventures close to home and see things that maybe I’ve missed in the past. I’ve always been pretty happy in my own space, so the social distancing thing is okay except for no BJJ or bro-hugs!
In terms of work at the moment construction work continues and I’ve been as busy as ever.
It has been nice seeing more people out walking, riding bikes, etc. at a socially safe distance.
I’ve been doing my best to support the local shops in Blackheath and avoiding the big supermarkets. Seeing what you guys are doing is amazing.
SC: Is this quiet lock-down time making you more inspired? Or the opposite?
DB: For sure I’m more inspired. I’m trying to take this time as a gift - I mean how often do we have this much free time to ourselves? Personally, I’m practising my writing.
We also built a small climbing wall at home so I’ve been enjoying my time on that, learning how to swing a kettlebell again and shooting pics whenever I can.
I realise that I’m lucky to be still working through this period and the financial strain that many people are feeling, fortunately, is not a problem for me.
SC: Finally, we’re curious to hear how did you get to know Sample…
DB: Through the climbing world.
In the words of the great Wolfgang Gullich [a rock climbing legend in the 80/90s, if not the greatest]: “A man doesn’t go to drink coffee after climbing, coffee is an integral part of the climbing.”
SC: And what’s your favourite way to drink coffee?
DB: I have Pacemaker on my trusty stovetop with a splash of milk every morning. It gets my motor going!!
But I guess my favourite way is while getting ready for the next adventure.
SC: Thanks Dave. Amazing work. And thanks to you all for staying with us in this new format or art pop-up! Check his collection below and give him a thumbs up at @david_brailey. See you all soon!
Collection: West Of The Range by David Brailey
The road to Glen Davis
A break in the weather
See you soon!