Elemental Nature

Jordan Manley in the thick of things while shooting in Hawaii with Scott Secco and Mike Hopkins for DreamRide 2. Photo: Bruno Long

Elemental Nature The Internal Conversations of Jordan Manley

The first and last occasions on which I spent extended time with photographer and filmmaker Jordan Manley were far from ordinary circumstances.

The first was late in the evening at a hostel in Beijing. After a long flight from Vancouver, British Columbia, followed by a confusing navigation of the Chinese capital’s crisscrossing maze of subway tunnels and alleys, I walked blearyeyed into the dimly lit hostel foyer to see Jordan with his two main travel companions, professional freeskiers Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots. We were about to begin what turned out to be the most diffi cult, travel-intensive project of our careers.

Fast-forward a few years and Jordan and I were together again, driving back from the Great Basin National Park in Nevada so I could drop him off at the Los Angeles International Airport. In the course of the ninehour drive, Jordan didn’t say a word, other than to ask me to pull over so he could throw up. We didn’t talk on that drive, and after three months of traveling between British Columbia, Japan and Nevada together for our Treeline film, I pulled up to the lobby of the cheap airport motel where he was spending the night, took his bags out, waved goodbye and got back in my car.

Before these journeys, Jordan and I had shared a few drinks and an ongoing email dialogue about creativity, adventure and how they could mix together to create a healthy life. Like many other adventure photographers, I had admired his photography and film work for some time and had reached out to him in 2013 to begin a conversation. Jordan’s reputation preceded him: He’d already landed more than 50 magazine covers, taken top honors at Whistler’s Deep Winter and Deep Summer Photo Challenges and won the World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Pro Photographer Showdown before he was 25 years old. There simply weren’t many photographic accolades left for him to pursue.

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