I stumbled onto Corey Hendrickson the same way that I've found most of our photographer partners...through everyone's favorite social network, instagram. Corey's feed was full of beautiful shots, and we were excited to partner with him to capture some moving content at our winter action shoot, On Location: Warren, Vermont.
Corey fit right in with our crew, dropping deep telemark turns as he rode through the woods with his heavy camera pack on...We caught up with Corey after the shoot to ask him a few questions about his history and life in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Alps & Meters: Tell us a bit about your history in the mountains. Where did you grow up skiing and riding?
Corey Hendrickson: My parents had me on skis at a young age, but it didn’t really start to stick until I was 11 or 12. Some of my favorite early ski memories are from exploring the woods around Walden Pond on x-c gear. I remember clearly the rush of flying through the woods without any real control or ability to turn. I grew up downhill skiing at Sugarbush.
A&M: Any specific motivations that got you into photography?
CH: My high school had a great black and white photography class and darkroom. I also took a film class - and we watched actual projected films, hard to believe… but that projector noise is forever stuck in my mind. I think those two introductions to photography had a more significant impact on me than I realized at the time. My mom was also an avid photographer for a while, and I remember looking at her slides and the light table in the kitchen.
A&M: With so many days logged shooting in the mountains, and trips to every corner of the globe, what’s your best memory of time well spent? Best conditions? Where?
CH: Definitely lots to see still for me, but I feel lucky (in many ways) to have spent a winter in Chamonix. That first trip up the Aiguille du Midi blew me away. However there is something special and perhaps a lot more unique about getting lucky with a good powder day in Vermont
A&M: What keeps you busy in the summers in Vermont?
CH: Mountain biking is my favorite sport, and the trail systems have been improving and expanding so much the past few years in Vermont. I'm also a beginner gardener… and there’s always “work”- can’t just wait for the phone to ring.
A&M: Out of all of the shots that you've taken over the course of your career, does one stand out?
CH: Almost an impossible question. I photograph a variety of subject matter, and love traveling with a camera. There is one image from a trip I took to Bolivia a few years back that is a personal favorite. I knew there was an image to be made in this cafe, and so I composed and waited…before too long a woman walked through the frame. It was a simple moment, but I like the way everything situated itself within the photo and the colors help to give it a sense of place.
A&M: What pushes you to shoot longer and ride harder when you’re tired and your pack is feeling heavy?
CH: Ha. Well… nothing beats getting back to the studio and knowing that you got the shot. I have been told by a friend that too often I say, “That was perfect, one more time.” But I always feel there is a way to improve… cleaner composition, different angle, etc. It’s a struggle sometimes because it can be hard to recreate something unique or spontaneous…but photography as a job demands it. A much different scenario than when I go out and shoot for myself, just gathering up moments and not looking back. One other thing I have learned is knowing what I’ll need, that knowledge can make a pack much, much lighter.
A&M: Do you have a “morning of shoot” ritual or habit? I’d imagine there are a lot of early mornings in your field…
CH: French roast coffee, just a bit of milk, and big cup.
A&M: What’s it like to see your daughter growing up in the mountains?
CH: I am so excited to teach my daughter how to ski. I can’t wait… she needs to learn how to walk, but soon! Next year I think we’ll be able to get out on skis. I hope she never does what I’ve done though… I shudder to think about certain things. My fear of avalanches has only increased over time. There’s no guarantees and I have a difficult time with the saying, “they died doing what they love”. I just don’t buy it. So… mixed bag with this question. Maybe she’ll grow up and get hooked on nordic. That’d be fine with me!
A&M: Any characters that stand out from your travels?
CH: I met one of my best friends while living in a hostel in France. I was living there with another buddy, and finally we realized we should all be hanging out. It was a fun time-lots of skiing and lots of really cheap wine. We have kept in touch and are both dads now.
A&M: What drew you the Green Mountains originally? What keeps you there?
CH: My parents introduced me to Vermont when I was young. Initially we’d go hiking - then I got hooked on mountain biking and skiing. What keeps me here now is the landscape and people. There is a generation of old timers that are fading fast from our world right now. I take every opportunity I have to talk with them and hear their stories. Those folks were just so rugged - I don’t think people are made like that anymore.
Corey, thanks for catching some absolutely stunning footage from a great few days on the mountain! You can check out more of Corey's (moving and still) work here.