I want to ask a bit about your relationship with Renan. I know you have worked together a whole bunch, but you also work independently. I’m curious about how you guys figured out the personal-professional work-life balance, if that was something that happened organically or if you had to have conversations about it. How did you land into where you are right now?
That’s a good question. Renan and I started working together pretty full-time, I don’t know, five years ago – we’ve been together for I think eight, but we really started working on projects together when I finished school. I think that there were some initial trips where we had to organically figure out our individual boundaries, ways in which we liked to be communicated with that felt respectful. But overall, that whole process is one of the less stressful in my life.
I think we were both sensitive people and our love is strong and our respect for each other is strong. And so, problems arise, but they figure themselves out because neither of us wants to make life difficult for each other. If we wanted to argue a lot, if that was a game we liked to play, I don’t think we would successfully collaborate with each other as much as we do. Little things pop up all the time, but I think we both have a desire to find a solution and amend the dynamic if we have to.
Do you ever feel overshadowed by him? Because he has more Instagram followers, a bigger name, or something. Does that affect you?
Yeah, sure. Definitely. It’s hard sometimes, especially when we collaborate equally and give equal energy to a project. We might even co-direct completely, start to finish, but I won’t have been in the footage, and many people won’t really recognize or know that I was a big part. But I think the people that matter to me, that know what I do, are my own kind of creative community. There’s definitely no issue there with feeling represented or supported.
But yeah, if you take the big picture of the million people on social media who we don’t know, I’m sure I could wrap myself into feeling insecure, if I thought too much about it. It’s gotten easier over time, just growing into the type of creative that I want to be and knowing that that’s so much more about my own sense of self-worth and self-esteem and not always the attention that I get from others.
For sure. Do you think it’s because of his name recognition, or do you think it’s also just sexism, especially in the climbing and outdoor photography space?
I think it’s both. There are instances all the time where we’ll be together in a meeting, or meeting a new collaborator, a new client, and the sexism of how someone will look to him and not to us both for feedback, information or ideas is kind of funny.
But what helps that process not be so painful is that, for one, Renan doesn’t even seek celebrity status. He literally is one of the most talented people I know and kind of shies away from it, so it doesn’t feel like he’s trying to bring that on himself in any way. He is also really good about being inclusive and opening up conversations that are getting wonky, knowing that only we understand the deep nature of our collaboration and sometimes others don’t.
So when that kind of stuff comes up, I think we have a good way of navigating it too. But, yeah, the world has not resolved its sexist tendencies quite yet.