COMMENTARY: Jordan Manley Artistically Films ‘A Skier’s Journey’
If you’re anything like me then you know there’s nothing better than watching adventure films when you’re not outside yourself. Not only does this make us more excited to get after our next outing, but it inspires motivation and new ideas for ways to document our adventures. After many hours watching climbing and skiing films, I’ve found that no one does it better than Jordan Manley.
Fellow photographer and adventurer Kevin McAvey recently showed me Manley’s beautifully-crafted series dubbed “A Skier’s Journey.” The series follows professional skiers around the world in a hunt for untouched powder and beautiful lines. But the landscapes they see, lines they send, and the people they meet are not the only thing that will leave your jaw dropping — it’s the cinematography.
I’ve seen many adventure and ski films, but none tell a story and convey the meaning of a place quite like those in “A Skier’s Journey.” What I enjoy about these films is that they are not just the typical edits and clips showing athletes skiing big lines or doing incredible tricks. That aspect makes up only a fraction of Manley’s films. Instead of showcasing the obvious, Manley captures the essence of the places the skiers visit and the people that they meet. He tells a larger story and shows that there is more to skiing than the skiing itself.
Two ways in which I think Manley accomplishes this, and methods that I think can help other filmmakers, is by relying on sound and extreme close-ups. Manley does an excellent job capturing natural sound in locations, which can give viewers a feeling that they’re actually traveling with the skiers to these places. Further, the creative often captures artistic extreme close ups of details in a place, such as passing heads of hurried locals on city streets or individual snowflakes on a mountainside, then makes quick jump-cuts that link the footage in order to show the identity of a location. On top of it all, each video always has an incredible story usually with the insightful narration of a local.
Image credit: Arc’teryx