Krystle’s a nomad. She’s been on the road for 9 years, shooting adventure sports in every corner of the globe as a Canon Master photographer. We’re pumped to premiere her film In Perpetual Motion on We Are Explorers.
We reckon you should watch the film below, then come back and read our chat with Krystle. She refused to include any text or voice-overs in the film to allow the viewer to make up their own mind about what they’re seeing.
‘It’s nice to have footage with a bit of mystery behind it. It’s like people have forgotten that they can think for themselves.’
It was evening somewhere in the US midwest when I finally managed to get through to Krystle. A rare moment of calm between storms, metaphor and reality intertwined; she’s currently storm chasing on the North American plains.
Wait, isn’t Krystle Wright an adventure sports photographer? Why’s she shooting storms?
‘Why not?’ Krystle says, but she goes on to tell me about challenging herself, encompassing other photographers in her projects, and how Canon Australia has continually pushed her forward creatively. But as a brand, have they given her enough creative freedom?
‘Canon is a visual language company, and when your language is driven by strong visuals you have to allow freedom and creativity.’
‘They’ve definitely given me a lot of freedom!’ Krystle laughs. ‘I’m pretty stubborn as well. I tend to walk into the offices and go ‘Right, this is the project I wanna do’, and then I tend to not listen to them. And just go off and do what I want.’
‘Well not quite, but it’s amazing because the thing is, Canon is a visual language company, and when your language is driven by strong visuals you have to allow freedom and creativity. It means taking a risk. But I think the greater the risk, the greater the payoff.’
You can feel that creative freedom breathing when watching In Perpetual Motion. It’s a film that subverts your expectations, it’s aggressively visual, yet mysterious, forcing the viewer to bring their own interpretation to the table.
When I ask Krystle if the title refers to her lifestyle as a photographer or the creative process she stresses that she didn’t want to tell people what to think, that she’s tired of footage online that lays bare its meaning.
‘It doesn’t really bother me if someone hates it, it’s worse when someone doesn’t engage with it at all.’
So what does she feel it represents?
‘I’m never quite satisfied with a photo. Sure I am for a bit, but creatively I always want to push further.’
‘It’s exploring the storyline of fear. I was playing with the concept of the physical danger in the work I do, and fear’s always in the back of my mind, living so nomadically.’
‘It gets incredibly lonely, that was the reason for the desert setting. And those mountains in New Zealand, there I’m playing with the idea that it just never seems like enough. I’m never quite satisfied with a photo. Sure I am for a bit, but creatively I always want to push further. I guess I’m kind of like a climber or a skier in that way, it’s a great driving force.
But what came first, the adventures and extreme sports, or the photography?
‘They kinda grew hand-in-hand. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast I was very sporty, soccer, track and field, whatever – when I left I was looking for a way to combine being outside and being creative. I enrolled into a Bachelor of Photography course and was naturally attracted to shooting surfing and outdoor sports. I was always keen to get into rock climbing.’
I start to wonder about homesickness. Krystle’s mentioned how long she’s been a nomad twice now, are there any plans to come back to Aus or set down roots?
‘To be honest, at this point I’m really on the verge of a serious burn-out and I’m trying really hard to not fall into that trap,’ Krystle says softly. ‘I’ve been traveling around like a pinball and on social media, people look at my work and think ‘ahh, she’s got the dream job.’ On one hand, totally, I do have a dream job, but, living on the road and not really having a home base is really tough. So anytime someone’s like hey I’ve got a project in Australia, I’m there in a heartbeat. I fuckin’ love Australia and I love being home.’
But Krystle’s also quick to stress that you’re only young once and that it’s important to seize every opportunity. Paradoxically, she had to create a career for herself overseas before she could start picking up clients in Australia. But that’s changing.
‘The thing is, we have such a great backdrop in Australia, we have world-class climbing and surfing, everything. The National Geographic offices are always asking me to pitch stuff from Australia.’
So should we expect the perpetual motion machine to slow down any time soon? And will it settle in Australia?
‘Oh, I’m working on it,’ says Krystle. But somehow I’m not convinced.
Feature photo by Ben Thouard
Tuck in to a visual feast…