Exposure is a series that turns the lens on our creative contributors.
Jeremiah Doehne used to live the rat race. With a business degree in finance and economics, a city job as a data systems analyst felt like a natural fit. But the reality of the daily grind, the beige office cubicle and long hours quickly wore him down. So he set out to find something different. He gave up his job, travelled to Europe—and then found climbing and photography.
How did you first find climbing?
There was a bouldering gym (Seattle Bouldering Project) close to our flat. My then-girlfriend and I were looking for something to do together. We purchased punch-passes, but had only managed to go a few times. I had enjoyed it quite a bit, but the relationship was getting complicated, so other priorities came up.
When we split, in February of last year, after she wanted (and did) go back to Switzerland and I remained in Seattle, I needed something to fill the immediate void. I went back to the bouldering gym to be amongst people and almost instantly, I ran into a friend I had known in high school. He is very talented in the sport and would go constantly. I started to hang around him, learned from him and befriended some of his bouldering inner circle. They were all strong climbers and above all, always extremely psyched to climb. I felt my stoke for climbing beginning to build. I was climbing often 5-6 days a week.
From there, my climbing grew to new heights (literally) and took over all my non-office work time. Training and climbing became my life. What started with bouldering would evolve to alpine and mixed-snow/ice objectives. This is where my heart is and I'm constantly looking to the next big alpine objective!
How did you get into photography?
I felt like I was doing some really cool stuff. Stuff that I wanted to print and remember. Probably sounds pretty common. It was really that simple. I waited until I could buy my first real camera, then when I did, I started experimenting a ton. I was so psyched about the experience of photography and the outcomes I was getting. It developed into more than just for my personal objectives.
I thrived on working so many different angles, different objectives, different editing and what not. I got my "good" camera this past spring, I have now started to hone my style, the styles and objectives that really that stimulate me. This is where my path continues.
How did your climbing impact your creativity and in particular your photography?
Climbing is an intense sport within a diverse environment. So many elements can make or break a powerful, meaningful shot. Understanding the climber and how he or she moves versus the surrounding environment is critical. Mastering a fusion between the two is the ultimate challenge. I like to expose the individual emotions and magnitude of a moment in time. Whether that's climbing, running along the mountains or paddling kayaks over a crystal blue lake on a rest day. People say that pictures never really capture the true size and emotions of a moment. I work hard to try and change that perspective.
It's true that sometimes it's hard to creatively magnify specific qualities. For me, climbing has helped tremendously in this regard. Climbing has played a pivotal role here, teaching me how to take the blinders off and see a situation from a 360-degree angle. It has helped me with almost everything, from shots taken adventuring massive landscapes to those on big alpine climbs or explorations. For me, its important to visualize the shot and prepare yourself to capture it perfectly. It's critical to learn a route, run the moves through your head and have the foresight to imagine the climber's position and body in a future moment. When you climb and shoot, you cannot say "stop! Go back so I can shoot!"
Learning always to be ahead of time is an important trait for any successful adventure photographer. To see what is, and to feel what is to come. To visualize how to make the magnitude of a scene palpable to a spectator: This is what climbing photography has helped develop in me.
Sony a7rii, Zeiss 16-35m and Sony GM 24-70m, weather charts, ascender, separate light alpine rack and 30m rope (in cases where you will need to move off the route) and my Suunto watch for timing.
Most places around the North Cascades. Beyond trying to get permits, the experience is always feast for the eyes and a full-on physical test for the body.
Follow Jeremiah on Instagram here.