Looking for Weird

“Clay Porter, guest filming a ‘Life Behind Bars’ segment at the jumps in Pine Valley, CA. This is Brandon Semenuk sending at last light, but Nico Vink and Brendan ‘Brendog’ Fairclough were also there. This was the very beginning of 2014, and I honestly couldn’t believe I was shooting these three guys just 45 minutes from my house. This shoot was the first time I’d worked with Brandon.”

Looking for Weird Creativity and a Collapsed Lung with Ian Collins

For lack of a better word, Ian Collins’ resume is weird.

The professional photographer started his first job at age 8, throwing hay bales on his family’s dairy farm in upstate New York. Next came a gig as a designer-shoe salesman at Nordstrom’s in San Diego, shortly after he moved to California in 2004. Then he headed north—way north—to work on a commercial fishing boat for three months in the Bering Sea. When he got home, he couldn’t open or close his hands fully for a month.

“It was definitely the gnarliest experience of my life,” Collins says. “I almost went overboard three different times.”

It may have been a path far from the world of mountain biking, but that’s where it would eventually lead. After his fishing job, Collins took a break from selling shoes, during which he began dabbling with a hand-me-down Nikon D70. It turned out he was good at shooting photos, and years later what started as a hobby turned into a career as one of freeride mountain biking’s premier photographers.

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