Our good friends John Erickson and Andy Pitts will be in Seattle, WA at 35th North showing the northwest their traveling show Postcards and Polaroids. Don’t miss out, it’s going to be a fun night.
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Taylor Ballard is a traveler, skate photographer from the northwest. He does amazing film work and were very excited to showcase some of his photos and ask a few questions. Looking forward to this Instagram series and glad you can join us. –Eric Green
So Taylor were all of your Chile photos shot on film.
Yes, all these photos are shot on film I even shot some expired slide film on my last trip to Chile this past September. I do shoot digital as well but I really prefer film.
What is your favorite camera to shoot with?
For the past two years my favorite camera has been a Leica M6. In May of 2016 I purchased a canon 7 rangefinder and fell in love with that style of shooing. I personally find it so much easier to focus with a rangefinder than a SLR.
How many cameras did you bring with you on your last trip to Chile?
I brought four cameras on this last trip I think. I had my M6 my Canon 6D that is use to shoot the majority of my skate photos, a Yashica Mat twin lens reflex (my second favorite film camera), and a polaroid SX70 that I acquired at a Value Village for $10.
What brought you to Chile?
I visited Chile for the fist time when I was 16 with my church. We built some houses out on the coast in a small town called Iloca that had been recently hit by a huge tsunami. I went down once more in high school and after I graduated I interned at the church down there for about three months. I met a ton of amazing people during these three trips and really fell in love with the culture. I have been back three times since then to visit and skate and am planning on spending a more extended amount of time towards the end of this year.
What would you recommend to someone thinking about visiting Chile?
Chile really has something for everyone. To start the seasons are reversed because Chile is in the southern hemisphere which you can use to your advantage. Santiago is a really cool city. The skate scene is growing exponentially and as most people who skate can attest to it is really easy to connect with people skating around. If you spend some time in Chile I would recommend doing some time in the city and some time out on the coast in Vina Del Mar or Valparaiso they are only and hour bus ride or so from Santiago. As far as in Santiago there is a really rad market in the city center called Santa Lucia that I like to go to at least once every time I visit. If you snowboard and or surf there are some amazing places to do that and if you play your cards right as far as where you are staying you can easily do both in the same day.
How do you get around in Chile? Bus, Uber, Walk?
I mainly use the subway system and the busses to get around in Santiago. The metro system down there is very efficient and makes it really easy to get around. You can Uber down there but it is actually illegal which is kind of weird but to my understanding you won't get in trouble but the driver will. I was with a friend one day and we saw a cop right when we were going to get in an uber so she called the guy and had him pick us up a block or two away.
Are you developing your own film?
I develop my own black and white film but haven't got around to learning how to do color yet. I usually shoot more black and white but did mostly color during this last trip.
What inspires you to travel?
Honestly right now skateboarding and shooting photos is what really motivates me to get out to new places but I find myself constantly being blow away by how many amazing people you meet when you are traveling so that as of late has become another kind of reason for travel. Being in a place that is completely new where you are out of your comfort zone is such a great experience and I got that a lot during the first few trips I did to Chile. Being 19 and not speaking much Spanish at the time and growing up in suburbia having hardly ever taken the bus, and never having learned how to navigate a city without a car and a gps made things pretty difficult at first but made for a very valuable learning experience and something I would love to do again.
So in traveling you end up talking with random people and most love to give suggestions of what to do. I was given a tip to go check out Franconia Sculpture park about an hour out of Minneapolis. I’m a big fan of Americana and just weird roadside things. People that spend sometimes years putting together giant pieces of art using the resources around them. Love it. I saw a couple pics online and just got in the car to check it out. It’s in Shafer, Minnesota. It’s free, you can give donations. It was amazing, fun way to spend a few hours wandering around. Not much for food but you have to visit the Lizard Lounge. It was a weekend when I went and there was a live cover band rocking out some oldies. Fun atmosphere. Plenty of colors, lines, angles and odd subjects for some creative photography. Highlights for me were, Chris Larsen’s “Lorraine Motel Sign Revisited” a replica of the Motel sign from the motel Martin Luther King was assassinated at in Memphis, a collection of boom boxes stacked about 15 feet high and a large dog shaped house you could go into with so much stoner graffiti. If you’re in the area, make it happen, go have some fun.
- Eric Green
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The Pacific Northwest is know for it’s outdoors, hiking, camping, rock climbing and kayaking. Weekends are spent seeking out nature, picking mushrooms and shopping at REI. When it begins to snow up this way though the city becomes a ghost town. Traffic jams happen as everyone jumps on the road to drive home before the snow hits. Seattle isn’t a great city for snow, it happens like once every 5 years, there are tons of hills, no plows for the roads and were just used to rain this time of year, by the end of winter were getting pretty depressed by now. Well the snow hit and Seattle got about 9 inches and some of the areas around 18 inches. So yeah the city shut down for about 5 days, snow was on the ground for almost 2 weeks. Yeah, if you live any where cold you can talk shit but this is us. So when the city is closed what better way to celebrate then to wander around town with everyone else out of work and school. People were having fun and even interacting with each other outside which is rare in this city. Can’t wait for the next big snow to hit, best weekend off ever.
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It’s the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Oświecim, Poland. Trains from all over Nazi Europe brought Jews to the camp during World War 2. They don’t know the number but estimates are around 1.1 million people died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I was able to visit the camp from Krakow over the summer. Walking through the barracks and grounds is unreal and I’ve never had such a heavy experience while traveling. To learn about their lives and the absolute horror that the prisoners went though. Seeing the destroyed gas chamber, being on the path they walked to it and the staggering amount of shoes, suitcases, items that were taken when people arrived. It’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable that something so evil happened only 74 years ago. Traveling is both learning about the world and ourselves. It’s a trip I’ll never forget. - Eric Green
I was able to find a bus ride that not only went between Riga, Latvia and Vilnius, Lithuania but stopped at a few interesting sights along the way. My favorite was the Hill of Crosses in Siauliai, Lithuania. There are hundreds of thousands of crosses and don’t worry you can buy your own if you feel the need. Even a few others on the bus brought their own to add to the collection. Only downfall of the bus tour is you’re on a set time line. We had 25 minutes to explore the area. It’s not huge but it’s so overwhelming. Crosses of all types everywhere. It’s one of those places with so much going on you have to find some interesting aspects that just jump out. I definitely was out of time and was last person running back to the bus. The ride was a great way to see some of the countryside and at least peak into the lives of people in between the big cities where most of the country’s population lies.
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The Road Is Life Travel presents "Stories from the Road" with The Postcards and Polaroids show features the work of artist Andy Pitts and photographer John Erickson. In this segment they discuss how the show came about, their work and some insights to their process. This episode was filmed at Cat's Paw Saloon in Portland, Oregon.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” “I don’t much care where-” “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice and Wonderland
A couple pics from beautiful Prague. One of our favorite European destinations. Start looking at tickets.
Here is a quick recap of our Going Somewhere, Probably group photo show in Los Angeles.
It’s officially fall when the last of the state fairs have served their final Elephant Ear. From Deland, Florida to Saint Charles, Illinois to Dallas, Texas to Puyallup, Washington to Springfield, Massachusetts. The state fair still offers a view into small town America, city dwellers rarely see. So until next year, when we can get our fill of fried food, marvel at the baby piglets, win a life sized stuffed animal and ride the Zipper until we puke.
The most unbelievable abandon street in North Dakota. There were houses, grain storage and this old church at the end of the road. The scene was a dream. Then I saw my first tick, right there on my white sock. Scared, I brushed it off. Now being more careful, it was hot and shorts with no shirt so weren't in the best place to start. So then I find 2 more on my legs and 1 on my arm. I'm starting to freak out, spending much more time focused on ticks than photographing this unique place. In the end the ticks won. After about 4 more, my friend and I were frazzled. Couldn't even take the thought of seeing another, we ran back down the road. Tick checked each other in the middle of the small highway running through here. Please keep in mind, I'm not familiar with ticks, stories I heard involved being hospitalized quickly and new tick variations that made you allergic to meat after being in contact with. For real. Sounds like it's from a movie. Next time, I'm wearing a full white, space outfit. Taping any open holes, I won't let the ticks win the next round.