AT WHAT PRICE: TRAILER
AND Q+A WITH JOHN PRICE
Interview by Tera Swanson
In a constantly accelerating world of social media, emerging creative professionals must walk a delicate line when they use these online tools to grow their businesses and promote their craft. Premiering at the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Festival, “At What Price,” directed by Tommy Day, takes us through this journey with up-and-coming adventure photographer John Price. In this interview, Price tells us how photography evolved from a hobby to a career, what he learned from the filming process of this documentary, and the message he hopes it will send.
Q+A WITH JOHN PRICE
Tera Swanson/ For anyone who may not be familiar with your work, can you explain what the film is about?
John Price/ It’s about a few things, but to sum it up, it would be about the story of an up-and-coming adventure photographer in the Bow Valley, an insight into what it takes to do that work, and also an insight into the world of social media: the negative side, the portrayal of a perfect life, and how that is a myth that is dangerous to believe in.
TS/ Tell me about how your career as an adventure photographer began.
JP/ I guess it began when I decided to throw everything at it. Quitting the part-time job on the side and committing to it full-time. Being available all the time to seize all opportunities. This meant less money, more climbing, but it definitely helped me start capturing more content and gave me more time to create a portfolio – quickly – that helped define me as one of the most active climbing photographers in Canada.
TS/ What was the inspiration behind the film?
JP/ You would have to ask the director, Tommy Day. He passed this along in response to this question: “When I met John for the first time, he declined having a second beer because he knew the cost of that beer could go toward his work as an emerging photographer. He gave everything to his craft. And as an emerging filmmaker, I could relate to that. I was inspired by it. On top of that, John is an incredibly warm and positive soul, so I was stoked to tell his story.”
TS/ How did you become involved to create this film with director Tommy Day?
JP/ I met Tommy Day after he had just finished a photography workshop run by the Banff Centre a year ago. He met me, and over a weekend of hanging out, climbing and shooting together, he saw a story in my journey. Literally, within 24 hours of meeting me, we were climbing and filming together for this project.
TS/ Why is a film like this important to you?
JP/ This film is important to me because I truly believe social media makes people feel more negative feelings than we all like to believe or express. I’m worried about people believing in this myth of ‘perfect lives’, and how that might negatively affect their own happiness. As someone involved heavily in social media, I felt a responsibility to break down that myth.
TS/ What have you taken away from being a part of the film production? Any obstacles or discoveries?
JP/ Oh, I learnt so much about film that I didn’t before. Logistics would be a huge one. Shooting high-end stills in wild places is one thing, but shooting video is another. We obviously would have loved to climb wilder routes, and showcase bigger places in the film but we were restricted for many reasons. Essentially just a bunch of creatives and friends giving their time to get this project done, all the while each leading stupidly busy lives ourselves.
TS/ Without giving too much away, what can we expect to see the premiere?
JP/ Honesty, humility. A message that I think is relevant to many people and that will hopefully resonate with friends and strangers alike.
TS/ What do you hope the audience will take away from the film?
JP/ Perhaps a more positive outlook on their own life, and a more transparent look at social media. Hopefully, some inspiration? To follow your dreams, stick at something you love.
TS/ Where do you hope this will take your work moving forward?
JP/ Honestly, I really don’t know. I don’t have any expectations of that. I’m just so happy to have been able to help Tommy Day create something special that we all believe in. Working on his project with him has, in turn, inspired me and my work a lot.
TS/ Any feedback you’ve heard from those who have already seen it?
JP/ I’ve shown it to a few friends, climbers, photographers and harsh critics and so far the feedback has been hugely positive. People have all seemed to connect to this film in their own way.
Join John Price and Tommy Day for the premier and following screening of At What Price:
Category: Mountain Culture. Program B.
More information can be found on the Facebook event page.
Tera Swanson is a freelance writer and graduate from Mount Royal University’s Journalism undergraduate program. Whether laced into hiking boots or clipped into skis, her favourite way to explore the mountains is on her own two feet. She’s always up for anything that will end in the telling of a good story; be it through photography, from pen to paper, or over a locally brewed amber ale.