JOR­DAN MANLEY

ON RECK­ON­ING WITH CHANGE, THER­A­PEU­TIC FLY TY­ING, AND STAY­ING POS­I­TIVE.

Skiing - - Focus - In­ter­view by Sam Bass Pho­to­graph by Reuben Krabbe

By 2012, Jor­dan Manley was a re­spected ski pho­tog­ra­pher. All the ski rags fought over his best work, and he was in the midst of wrap­ping up his ac­claimed ski-travel video se­ries, A Skier’s Jour­ney. Then, in Novem­ber of that year, a strike to the head in a moun­tain-bike crash changed ev­ery­thing. Dur­ing his re­cov­ery, another head bump un­did most of his progress. Now, the Whistler-based 30-year-old is at home, learn­ing to adapt.

I did a back­wards som­er­sault and hit my head.

was a slow re­cov­ery. Then I bumped my head again last win­ter, on a shelf, while fit­ting my ski boot in our lo­cal shop. It set me way back. I was pissed. It told me that if I had hit my head even worse or had another fall, it would have been re­ally bad. So now I’ve got a bit of a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude.

I wouldn’t call my­self lost, but I’m def­i­nitely hav­ing a tough time know­ing how to go for­ward.

Walk­ing has been a big chal­lenge—the per­cus­sion and vi­bra­tion of walk­ing. Re­cov­ery has been way slower than the first time. If this is the new Jor­dan, if I can’t sus­tain any risk, ski pho­tog­ra­phy is not the work I should con­tinue.

In 2008 or ’09, DSLRs started shoot­ing high­qual­ity video

and I ap­proached Arc’teryx for fund­ing, with the goal of paint­ing a pic­ture of ski travel around the world. Mak­ing A Skier’s Jour­ney was an amaz­ing learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Telling sto­ries well is chal­leng­ing. That’s some­thing that will al­ways re­main chal­leng­ing.

Last year, I did this “Daily Walk” thing on In­sta­gram.

I couldn’t take pic­tures with my SLR at that time but I could use my phone, which au­to­mates the de­tails. I walked around close to my house, a few blocks at a time. I was strip­ping pho­tog­ra­phy down to its core, which is ex­plo­ration and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

I’ve also been fish­ing and ty­ing flies.

There’s an ath­letic el­e­ment in learn­ing how to cast well. And then there’s learn­ing about the land­scape and the ecosys­tem. Lots of knowl­edge needs to come to­gether in or­der to catch a fish. But a lot of it is luck, too.

When you do some­thing for almost a decade and that’s your iden­tity,

it’s chal­leng­ing to move away from it. I have to embrace chang­ing course. There’s lots of ways to live. Lots to pho­to­graph. The part I do have con­trol over is whether to be pos­i­tive or not.

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