Saturday, August 27, 2011

Last Night in Seattle

It was my last night in Seattle before leaving on a three month road trip to Oregon, California, and Utah, and I had just picked up my new Nikon D7000 camera. So I decided to make a quick video. Check it out below. Nothing super professional - I literally put it together in 15min - but I thought it came out kind of cool. Go to Vimeo for the HD. Enjoy.

Last Night in Seattle from Austin Siadak on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arizona : Borderlands

In May of this year I spent two weeks in Southern Arizona working on a photojournalism project about immigration along the Arizona-Mexico border. This was my first experience working on such a project, and it was an amazing opportunity from which I learned more than I probably even realize.

Southern Arizona is literally FULL of fascinating stories waiting to be told. The borderlands have an extremely unique and chaotic history that continues to shape events today. There are so many complex, overlapping themes and angles that one could spend decades down there and still find new, captivating narratives to tell. Drugs, immigration, corruption, politics, land rights, national security, poverty, wealth, Indian reservations, nationality, English, Spanish, Spanglish, death, life - they all shape daily life along the border. And it all happens in a breathtakingly beautiful environment, where the soft glow of orange sunlight filtering through undulating hills of sage and stands of saguaro cacti can almost make you forget that the desert is also a harsh, unforgiving killer.

I have to give a truly huge thanks to Sherman Teichman and Heather Barry of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University, and to Gary Knight of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice for making this trip a reality and giving me the opportunity to work on this project. And also, of course, to Sam James and Adam Levy - mis hermanos por siempre - for support along the way.

Below are the photos and essay that I put together following the trip. Enjoy.

Roadtrip Selects

I spent a month earlier this summer driving and climbing my way from Boston to Seattle. I had a chance to meet up with a bunch of friends in some amazing places, and climbed some of my favorite routes yet. Below are some of my favorite photos from the trip. Unfortunately, most are from the second half of the trip, as my point and shoot was broken during the first half. Enjoy.

The Jump Off

Back in May I made the tough decision to steer away from a looming future in international politics and diplomacy, and embrace an unknown outcome in trying to make a living as an adventure photographer/storyteller/videographer. Or maybe I was going to become a climbing guide. Or perhaps a ranger for the National Park Service. Possibly even a SAR responder. The truth is, I really didn't know exactly what I was going to end up doing, or how I was going to do it, but I packed a minivan with my possesions all the same and left Boston fading in my rearview mirror as I headed West on I-90.

For me this was a huge jump. I had spent the last five years earning a degree in International Relations from an "elite" university in the Northeast (with super duper honors too!!) with the plan to become a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department. Think "James Bond meets Barack Obama meets Richard Holbrooke" - that was gonna be me, I swear. Unfortunately for our country and diplomatic corps, I hadn't factored into my planning the full ramifications of a single chance trip to the local climbing gym with one of my friends in our sophomore year of college.

Thus began an all consuming passion with climbing and adventure that would take me through South America and Patagonia my junior year, and all over the Northeast and rest of the United States over the following two years. Soon I found myself hanging out with a new group of friends three nights a week at the local climbing gym, and headed up to New Hampshire to climb and hike every weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Taste of the 'Pine

Just got back from a hiking trip in the Pasayten Wilderness with my brother. Here's one of the first photos that I've looked at since getting back. More to come...

The Inevitable First Post

There. It's done.

Now I don't have to worry about trying to make the first post some magnificent opus on the meanings of life, complete with a cure for AIDS and the solution to all global conflict.