If spending 15 hours slithering through the desert on a three-kilometer long train transporting approximately 84 tons of iron ore across a country sounds like a dream to you, then you’re probably one of two things. Either, you’re ready to be the winner of the Lifestyle Category of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest, or you’re Jody MacDonald.
Thankfully for us, Jody is both! Her iconic and unforgettable image of a surfer on board the Mauritania Railway was the realization of her dream as a youngster of being on adventures like the ones she read in magazines. The image has gone on to define the Lifestyle Category, so we caught up with Jody to find out a bit more about her lifestyle, and how this is reflected in her photography.
Please give a small intro about yourself…
I was born in Ottawa, Canada but grew up in Saudi Arabia. I was fortunate enough to travel a lot when I was young and it really inspired me to travel and explore. I’ve been doing adventure sports for as long as I can remember.
I began my photography career when I started sailing around the world. I ended up living at sea for 10 years and sailing around the world twice visiting over 90 countries in search of having adventures in the most remote corners of the planet.
I’m passionate about stepping off the beaten path in pursuit of documenting issues that blend insightful storytelling, big adventure exploration and social change inspiration. I currently live in a ski town in the US called Sun Valley, Idaho.
In your words, what type of photographer are you?
I call myself and adventure and documentary photographer.
What’s more important in photography, action or emotion?
Tough question but I would say emotion. In my opinion the images that are most powerful evoke some kind of emotion.
How long does it take to capture the perfect ‘Lifestyle’ image of action sports?
I don’t think there is a definitive time frame but I don think it generally requires quite a bit of time. Spending a lot of time with your subjects and the sports they do is key to understanding the lifestyle behind the sport. I think the more time you spend with your subjects, the more likely you are to produce much stronger images.
Do you always have a camera with you?
Not always but when I’m on assignment, definitely!
Do your images display your own lifestyle, as well as the people in them?
Yes, without a doubt. I like to photograph sports that I do myself and am apart of that community so yes, my images definitely represent my own lifestyle.
Will you be submitting to Red Bull Illume 2019?
If I think I have any that are worthy, I will ;)
If Jody’s words resonate with you, or if you want to test your adventure and action sports images against the best, you can submit to this or any of the other 10 categories here!
Follow Jody on Instagram!