30 Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography

“Just call him the vanilla gorilla – an unnamed rider grabs some mean air in the ice-cream light above Methven, New Zealand.” Photo: Jeff Curtes

Flipping through the “30 Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography” book will bring back some memories. If you have been getting their catalog for any amount of time, you know that Patagonia’s catalog devotes nearly half its space to non-selling editorial content  to environmental and sport essays, and above all to extraordinary photographs of wild places and active pursuits for which the company makes its clothes. Since 1980, Patagonia has invited customers and wilderness photographers to submit their best, most unexpected shots of life outdoors – of alpine climbing, bouldering in the desert, skiing untracked bowls, surfing secret spots, ocean crossings, first kayak descents and travel in unfamiliar places. The photos have poured in ever since (current rate: 60,000 per year), some from the famous (John Russell, Galen Rowell), others from respected photographers (Corey Rich) who had their first work published in these pages. Jane Sievert and Jennifer Ridgeway, Patagonia’s current and founding photo editor, respectively, have been calling – and culling – the shots for three decades. This is their compendium of the 100-plus most compelling photos Patagonia has published – and a celebration of wilderness and outdoor-sport photography as an art and a practice.

Unlike much of the perfect looking stock pictures that other outdoor companies use, the pictures in Patagonia’s catalogs are personal, even capture the spirit of the moment.

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