How did you get into photography?
One of my teachers on campus invited me to go rock climbing for the first time and I was hooked. I loved everything about it. The sport, the art, the culture of climbing. And I quickly realized I needed to bring the camera along to document my weekend adventures so that when I got back to the playground my stories were more believable. And that was when I was 13 years old, and I am now 45 and those are still my two passions. It’s being outside, adventuring and photography, telling stories, actually, visual stories.
What motivates you to keep creating?
You know, I think what motivates me to keep creating is I have this wanderlust for life and experience. The camera is that golden ticket, it is the excuse to have adventures and to open doors and see parts of life that otherwise I don’t think I would get exposed to.
Do you have any tips?
It’s not about what other people are doing, it’s not about what won the contest last year, it’s “put forward the images that you’re most proud of”. And they will speak for themselves.
What equipment do you trust in when shooting?
I’m just always looking for reliable equipment. The best photographs of my career are fleeting moments. They only happen once. And if the equipment fails in that moment, be it the memory in your camera, be it the camera lens, the aperture shutter, the battery – that moment never happened.
“When my heart beats at 160 and sweat is dripping in my eyes, it’s when I enter that creative flow state.”
What features are particularly important for your equipment?
I’m looking for durability. I’m looking for something that’s going to last longer than I do. I’m weak compared to the equipment that I use. I usually buckle because it’s too cold or too windy or I’m too tired before the equipment. I always tell the story of going to the arctic to do a shoot. We did a ski expedition. We skied in to a deep, deep remote portion of the arctic circle in Alaska and I kept on wanting the batteries to die because it was so miserable working there at -20º to -30º. But the batteries never failed, it was me. And so that’s the equipment that pushes me to the limit, that allows me to push harder than I’ve ever pushed to make pictures that surprise people.
What do you always have with you, equipment wise?
My philosophy is to just keep it simple. Less is more. The less you’re doing baggage handling the more you’re focused on actually being creative and that’s where I want my energy to go.
What are some stand out memories or moments of your career?
The highlight is the people that I’ve met and who have become some of my best friends. I talked about the golden ticket, the camera has allowed me to meet some incredible people, elite performers, both in sport and science and music. I’ve learned a lot from those people and I’m a better person because of the folks that I have spent time with during my career.
How would you describe your style of photography? What makes your images unique?
I consider myself an adventure journalist. I have deep roots in the adventure world and I have also deep roots in the journalism world. And my favorite form of is documenting adventures where I’m truly as much as possible a fly on the wall and along for the adventure. I tend to do very little photoshop work on my pictures. Some of that stems from having grown up shooting slide-film and I still kind of stay true to those ethics as much as I possibly can when not doing an advertising job.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I think I’m inspired most by being outside. I find when my heart beats at 160 and sweat is dripping in my eyes, it’s when I enter that creative flow state and that’s when I’m more inspired to make pictures and push myself harder.
Stories Behind the Images by Corey Rich, a book filled with 56 chapters of the best moments of his career, is available on Amazon.
You can find more of his work on coreyrich.com and on Instagram: @coreyrichproductions