I interact with photographers located across the world on a daily basis, and am always excited to hear about the different adventures being documented from all of its tiny corners. Recently, I chatted with Salt Lake City-based photographer Jeremiah Watt about his trip to Indian Creek— the sandstone crack climbing mecca of Southern Utah.
Jeremiah traveled with videographer Tommy Chandler, as well as climbers Pamela Shanti Pack and Scott Turpin. Although he was shooting on spec for Patagonia, Black Diamond Equipment, Edelweiss Ropes and Evolv shoes, Jeremiah considered it a personal endeavor with friends, saying that personal work is the best way to dial in specific skills and creative urges to broaden your commercial and editorial base:
“Personal work is where you develop style and creativity without the constraints of needing to meet specific guidelines or needs. It comes down to putting as much fun and creative energy into a project as you can to see what you can come up with on the back end. I believe it’s important to take on personal projects being you’re hired to shoot what you know and produce. Besides, if you’re a photographer, chances are you aren’t in it for the cash so why not go and enjoy yourself?”
Jeremiah and his crew spent four days in Indian Creek, soaking up the desert sun while hard at work. They climbed what is called an “off-width,” which means that it is a crack too large to hold onto, and instead requires stacking hands and throwing elbows and knees in uncomfortable positions. This particular off-width was one that had been tried, but never completely climbed.
Because the route was isolated in a corner system at the end of a large wall, the light was tricky for Jeremiah. There was no alternate route to the top and the perspectives were isolated by surrounding rock:
“We ended up hiking up the side of a canyon and traversing the entire rock wall to eventually drop ropes on the opposing side of the corner system and down the route itself. This allowed us to climb our fixed ropes to the top of the wall, hike along the rim and then descend our other fixed lines to get the wide shots we were hoping for.”
Jeremiah is heading back out to shoot another historic crack in the near future, after which he will disperse the images to the editorial world. As far as what the experience taught him, Jeremiah had this to say: “While I love a little desert crack, when I’m not behind the lens the off-width is no friend of mine!”