Our last resort, was our best resort. Pat Curren.
I spent the past week hanging out with 20 year old, San Clemente, pro surfer, Kevin Schulz before, during, and after his win at the Rip Curl Pro Tofino. For most of the locals in town, this was their first time witnessing Kevin’s light footed style, and for many, that was when they threw in the towel.
Stole the bible and found god. Not true, but when I was in art school I got busted stealing a @redbull and some sushi from Whistler Mountain's cafeteria and got barred for 2 years. Somehow I still made it up the gondola without a pass, but that’s another story. I was broke in many ways but wanted to find some peace and quiet, so I went to the Chapters and stole this little yellow and red book called “Zen & The Art of Happiness”. I read it on the shitter everyday. A couple weeks later, after having a beer in the #darkroom, I went to Whole Foods with a buzz and stole some almonds and candied salmon. Two undercover security guards grabbed me on the way out. I was thrown in a holding cell at the cop station where they scared me pretty good, in a good way. They told me that my dreams of travelling as a #photographer would be crushed if I was ever caught again. That night In the cell was my first experience #meditating. I realized I sucked at stealing and never stole again. #UnapologeticApologies #WakeUp #film
It’s then that I realize the comfort in riffing with the rural community of Nova Scotians. Their honest, no bullshit, Clint Eastwood language is dialect the West Coast lacks and I’ve been missing it. It’s then that I grasp Logan’s antics. He’s got the mouth of a sailor, the temperament of a fisherman and the East Coast pride I wish I had.
The man approached me with a confused look on his face. We exchange names and a handshake. “Gordie, Gordie Howley” he says. The fisherman tells me he’s lived here 35 years and never seen a surfer here before. Now excited, Gordy invites me onto his fishing boat to get a closer angle of the guys. I take him up on the offer and we bob around peacefully not saying much, as we take in the blue, green and grey.
We collected wood with a hatchet then shot the shit over the fire and a bottle of whiskey, until the night fell. Then the rain fell. #spiltmilk #35mm
We pulled over to the side of the road, and hauled our gear through the dense forest that snagged at our clothes. Up a hill and over a field, we walked through the low lying shrubs to the edge of a cliff. There we had a beer and rested. It wasn’t until we stood up and saw the red spots on our clothes, that that we realised we were camping in edible bearberry bushes. #spiltmilk
We hop in a white F350 at 4am on our way to Cape Bretton. I slept in the back while Logan’s childhood friend Jetski Joe cracks a beer, then lights a joint as we get on the highway. I look out the window and watch the river’s move past. I doze off as the tiny valleys remind me of the old ski hills my family and I would snowboard on every weekend. The open plains, the wheat fields, the dark farm soil and smell of burning leaves remind me of my first ill prepared camping trip. Looking out the window I see lakes my dad and I would fish on - now he’s gone. "An unsettling feeling is creeping through the front door. A cold draft on a hardwood floor." Now I'm looking out the window and notice a small patch of dead trees that stand in a family of five. Shook and woken, I look to the windshield as Logan spots a wave.
Vintage cars and motorcycles are spread throughout the driveway. We get out of the car and I’m welcomed with a firm handshake from Mr and a hug from Mrs. The crows feet beside her eyes scream as she smiles.
It’s Saturday and the next 80k are scattered with yard sales. It’s Sunday and every driveway entrance has a transparent pink plastic bag protecting the newspaper inside. It’s Monday and the kids wait in the rain for the yellow school bus. It’s Tuesday and we stop off at Logan’s grandparents farm.
Looking for a place to hide, atop Kloshe Nanitch Fire lookout.
“My mom was and still is my biggest support and hero in my life. In the midst of her fighting and struggling with how to help me find the proper professional support, she wrote on a piece of lined paper "balance, variety, moderation." I still have that piece of paper 11 years later which is crazy, but in some ways I think that was a start of entertaining the idea that someday I would want that in my life and be "better" or have a "normal" relationship with my body in regards to control- but mostly mentally rather than physically. At first I started addressing this piece of paper in regards to food, then exercise and then as I got older I thought about social life, sleep, work, partying etc. It is 3 words that are far too simple for some to probably believe, but for me it’s a little reminder, or piece of hope."
Words by Natalie to finish off your "Running On Empty" story.
I asked Natalie why she wanted to take nude photographs of herself. “The importance in having nudity, is the relationship with accepting sexuality as well as self worth. I dreaded having to be so vulnerable to myself and someone else- when I was, I didn’t always understand that it is okay to want to feel special, exciting, pretty, mysterious, emotional or sexual. It was easier to shut those feelings off. I would say the importance or relevance is closely tied with a "rebirth" or regeneration of love for myself.”
Part of our Running On Empty story.
Natalie had left me a voice mail as she read a page from one of her favorite books, "It’s Not About Food" by Carol Normandi. "We cannot ignore the parallel trend of disrespecting and disconnecting with our human bodies and our earthly body. Our world has forgotten how to listen to and honor the feminine- the intuitive inherent wisdom of mother earth and our bodies. Our egoic mind takes over, and in the race to be “good enough, thin enough, rich enough, successful enough,” we conquer, control, intellectualize, linearize, categorize, and go for the goal no matter what the process, even if the process is starving, cutting, stapling, polluting, destroying, or causing extinction.
From Running On Empty
“I was really good at running and eventually the love for it was lost when all I focused on was training and being the best yet I wasn't fueling myself properly so it was like running on empty or hitting a brick wall in a way. I was my own worst enemy by not having realistic goals or a sense of balance and what happiness was for ME not anyone else (coaches, parents, teachers, etc.) The first time I was told to lose 5 or so pounds was in grade 9 and that was the first time that had been said by a coach, I used that as permission to keep a certain size because it was for my "sport.””
Shot for "Running On Empty"
Natalie turned to the scrapbook. Here was a picture of Jessica Alba, a Roxy bikini ad, and a Sports Illustrated photo of Olympic runner, Marian Jones. “That was my goal.” She said, “To be her. The strongest least feminine athlete, and pure muscle.” Next to her objective was a poem and a handful of photos of Natalie crossing the finish after winning a number of races. One year after Natalie created her scrapbook, Marian Jones would admit to steroid use and return all 5 Medals to the Olympic committee.
From the "Running On Empty" story.
Natalie spoke confidently while reading the personal information, but as I watched her focus on the writing, I couldn’t help but wonder what she was feeling as she began to go further into detail. She continued while not skipping a beat. ”You decided that the risks of taking it are significant enough to motivate you to stop taking them.” she burst into laughter with her adolescent past. The fact she had lied to the nurse and had continued on using the pills was funny to her. I enjoyed the dark humor so I laughed as well. Yet, Natalie was more interested in easing her mind, so her body would continue to suffer until she found something simpler.
From my "Running On Empty" story.