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Bags! {Christmas Gift Guide}

Ben Ashby

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I collect bags. I have my go to every day bag (the FOUNT bag), I have my utility bags for when I’m teaching classes (the Sturdy Brothers and the Artifact Tote), I have a travel tote (A JW Hulme), and I have ones for special occasions that I pull out when I’m going somewhere special. I also have a few that I believe in not only for their amazing quality but because I love the people making them. Today I wanted to share a list of my favorite bags for this Christmas season.

Each day is supposed to be nine goods, but for this one I had too many I loved…yet I know I still forgot a few. 18..and go….

1) FOUNT is my go to bag. Made in Cleveland with insanely good leather. They’re basically the Birkin of handmade.

2) I love Peg and Awl. They are one of the original makers to popularize waxed canvas. The PA based team is as genuine as they are creative.

3) J.W. Hulme is a classic American heritage brand. They’ve been creating luxury American made goods for decades. They still hold true with creating timeless pieces that last for decades.

4) Red House VT is a maker I’ve known for years. Watching them grow has been an honor. Their clean Vermont inspired designs are always a refreshing take using rugged materials.

5) Liz Riden is somewhat new to the scene. Specializing in women’s leather goods she is making top quality leather smalls the attic of her Lancaster, PA home.

6) I have had an Artifact tote for eight years. The thing looks as good today as it did nearly a decade ago. They bring midwest charm and midwest frontier level quality to each piece they make.

7) I have two Sturdy Bro. totes and they are indestructible. The waxed canvas is so sturdy I’m convinced it’d survive a hurricane. These are the totes you want if you know its going to get messy and needs to hold up.

8) J. Stark brings a timeless southern feel to their brand. Each piece reminds me of a throw back to earlier days of handmade. Their brand feels like it belong on Main Street in a cute southern town. The entire brand is so well tied together.

9) Forest Bound is one of the OG’s. Like Peg and Awl, Alice has been making top quality well built bags for nearly a decade outside Boston. Her Escape bag has become icon.

10) Farmhouse Frocks is entirely made by Amish makers in the heart of Ohio Amish country. Their designs are always inclusive of all body types and sizes. Their leather goods are festive reminders of their farming, rural, small town roots.

11) One of my favorite totes to carry in the city is a canvas tote by Lineage. Well lined, well structured, and well designed. They bring a bit of modernity to a classic style of bag making.

12) Bradley Mountain is one of the OG millennial makers. San Diego based but inspired by the rugged mountains each piece is a beautiful reminder of good design.

13) I’ve known General Knot for forever. Originally known for their ties and bow ties their well built zippered totes have certainly won my heart.

14) Millican backpacks are the kind you use when you know its going to be a journey. Perfect in airports or camping.

15) Tracey Tanner is a Brooklyn based bad ass who brings fun and bright colors and leathers to the game. Her simple yet very well built designs are perfect smalls to carry on their own or to throw inside a bigger bag.

16) Loyal Stricklin, like Bradley Mountain is one of the first millennial makers to hit it big on social media. Made by a husband and wife team in Nashville each piece is touched and created by them.

17) Artifact Goods is bringing slick modernity to the leather game. Made in central California these bags are they perfect city bags. Timeless yet modern.

18) Our vegan option by Sole Society is actually one of my favorites. I am stopped everywhere I go by folks telling me they love this bag. It pairs perfectly with the Fount bag if you don’t mind mixing vegan and leather.


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There will likely be a second bag list as I’ve already remembered several friends I’ve forgotten. Stay tuned.

Candles! {Christmas Gift Guide}

Ben Ashby

I’m insanely lucky to be friends with so many amazing candle makers. Creating this list got incredibly hard when I realized I could only include nine, so I must start by saying there are so many other candle makers beyond these nine, these just happen to be the ones I picked for a variety of reasons. Others will be included in future lists.



1) I first met First Hand Supply Co at American Field in Boston. There is something about their scents and the price point that instantly set them apart from all the other candle makers there. They have clean scents that are equally inviting and warm as they are refreshing.

2) I’ve loved Sydney Hale candles since I first discovered them at Fable and Flame in Lexington. In those days it was a team of two hand pouring the luxury candles. Its been a joy to watch them grow over the years.

3) Harmony Farm candles are delightfully affordable and retain their scent for a very long time. These are the type of candles you fall in love with in small town shops and load up on for gifts all year long.

4) PF Candle is the classic and the original. The first candle to go viral on Etsy nearly a decade ago PF has become a standard in any millennial home. We love the team behind them just as much as we still love their classic packaging, their timeless scents, and the west coast minimal vibe they brought to the game.

5) Great Bear Wax Co is the lone man on the list. Based in Alabama these candles carry a bit of a masculine feel, a bit of a southern feel, and a bit of a rugged nature vibe.

6) Flores Lane are the candles I am most often burning. They last forever and have soft subtle scents. Made in West Hollywood by a small team and hand stamped and labeled.

7) I love Wax Buffalo for their packaging. Its bold, its timeless, its perfect. Her scents are amazing too, but that packaging, it just gets me.

8) Ethics Supply Co has a candle for everyone. The mission behind the brand is promoting nature and the outdoors. The candles carry themes dedicated to the national parks, the different regions of the US, and a spirit of nature. The quality is amazing. The packaging is amazing. The people behind the brand are amazing. (Hands down Starry Night is the candle you need for all summer long.)

9) While this one isn’t a candle it is my favorite Tatine product. Buy this one for yourself. There are plenty of other options for gifts. This one you deserve to treat yourself with.

Christmas Cheers + Flavors! {Christmas Gift Guide}

Ben Ashby

Day two of our Christmas Gift Guide series is here. Today we dive into a few of our favorite sweet nibbles and holiday cheer that’ll fit perfectly into any kitchen.


A perfect Christmas kitchen is a mix of delicious treats and beautiful serving pieces. Each of these is handmade by a maker somewhere in the US.

1/6/8) Three of our favorite pieces by Rogers Made from Tennessee. Handmade in their newly opened shop and studio space each Rogers Made good is perfect for gifting, using, keeping, or hoarding. We’re especially obsessed with the apple cider syrup.

2) The winter season certainly isn’t complete without Finding Home Farms maple syrup. Perfect for the mornings, perfect for the sweet desserts. Made in the Hudson Valley of New York.

3) We’ve been obsessed with Vermont Farm Table Co’s pieces for years. Their beautiful boards are a must have for every kitchen.

4) Made in Arizona these delicious caramels come from the milk produced right on the farm.

5) Farmhouse Pottery in Vermont is the most sturdy, beautiful, and timeless pottery we’ve come across. Luxury quality for any farmhouse kitchen.

7) We’ve loved Whimsy and Spice brownies for nearly a decade when we first saw them on Etsy. Made in Brooklyn for the most perfect on the go treat.

9) Another Brooklyn made good, these A Heirloom pie boards are perfect for any season of pie consumption.

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The Rugged Life {Christmas Favorites}

Ben Ashby

Christmas is quickly coming. We’re here this year to share a few of our favorite authentically made gift-able goods this holiday season. Each day will be a different focus. Today we focus on nine must have items for the rugged life. Think camping, hiking, camp fire cooking, and of course all those perfectly styled photo moments.


1) Tribe and True Blanket | 2) Lodge MFG Camp Dutch Oven | 3) Woolrich blanket | 4) The Campfire Cookbook | 5) Ball and Buck Anorak Pullover | 6) Loyal Stricklin Aviator Mug | 7) Mark Albert Boots | 8) B and H Photo Video Dry Tube | 9) Duluth Pack Back Pack. || Click on images for link.


A Southern Treasure | An Essay

Ben Ashby

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    By: Shan Ashby    

My husband and I were traveling in July, through what I call, “my south”  when we stoppedto eat at a popular fast food spot.  We picked a table and sat next to a window looking across a steamyparking lot.  Both of us are people watchers.  I guess that's the school teacher that comes out in us.  It's a skill one develops after a lifetime in the classroom, that allows one to hear conversations and read body language of an entire room full of souls while appearing to be doing something entirely different.

There was an older man, probably in his late 80's or early 90's sitting across from us eating ata table with a much younger but look alike fellow, I surmised he was probably the gentleman's grandson.  He wore faded denim, bib overalls with galluses over an ironed blue and gray plaid shit.  He was clean, shiny clean and hiswhite hair with a speck of grey looked soft as it fell away from his hairline part.  The young man across the table was eating hurriedly, it was after all mid-day and they probably had errands to run. 

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A family soon filled the table behind us - parents with three grade school aged children. They were modestly dressed – no name brand clothes, no cell phones, no walking and texting.  They were quiet as they pulled the chairs away from the table across the tile floor and seated themselves.  The father carried food on one tray and the mother carried the drinks on another. The oldest child had napkins and straws which she passed around.  

Our three families continued to dine in the midst of the noise from the soda machines and orders numbers being called – lunchtime patrons, coming and going.  I watched the elderly gentleman finish his sandwich and drink as he glanced often toward the familybehind me. And for that monumental moment I could read his thoughts. I've done it so many times with my own Grandfathers and Dad after they shared stories about their lives during the depression, as well as,  the stories they dared share about the horrors of war. 

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I knew as he looked at the family, the gentleman could see himself as a young father, The children, reminded him of his own and he thought about his wife, now gone, and how she had cared for their little ones in the prime of her young life.  

He remembered the struggles of his childhood and his responsibility as a Daddy to feed a hungry family. He had insight. He had a pleasant expression as he watched them enjoy their meal.  The young man who sat across the table from himfinished his meal and motioned for them to leave.  With   little conversation, the young man rose from the table and walked toward the trash and placed his tray in the appropriate place and then waited by the door.

The elder also stood, but much slower.  He scooted his chair under the table, picked up his tray and turned toward the young family.  Without hesitation he approached their table. He stood as tall as his frame would allow and he spoke directly to the father, 

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“ Would your family care for my fries?” There was a momentary silence between the two men as my husband and I listened and watched this noble act of southern kindness.

“I haven't touched them and I'mfull, I can't eat them, I don't want them to go to waste.” he spoke softly. 

In those brief seconds I felt my heart begin to pound and a lump tighten in my throat. I couldn't continue to eat.  I held my breath and hoped the tears in my eyes would not draw any attention in this moment – I leaned over my foodto avoid eye contact with my husband.  

We were in the presence of a private moment, a historical moment that only a people of our age in the south canunderstand and appreciate.  This was a hospitable southern offering from this elders generation but might likely bring giggles, smirks and laughter from some of the “ insensitive, self serving” youth of a more modern generation.  

Sadly, the time is quickly coming when this southern offering like so many other unselfish treasures of giving will no longer bemade by a generation of people.  I may never witness an act of this genuine kindness again in my lifetime.

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This was a gentile, southern man.  I'm sure his eyes had seen too much that he'd like to forget, his body marked by age but his generosity beyond reproach.  He was old enough to remember the “great depression”, to remember as a child, days with no food, to remember cold winter nights with nowarmth andshoes soles reinforced with cardboard, but he endured.  He was old enough to have served his country in World War II and perhaps seen starving children and adults through barbed concertina wire in the concentration camps in Germany or witnessed his comrades in arms die on the blood soaked battle fields of France or England, but he endured.    

He is a pattern of many many southern men whose ghosts grace sacred places of our world     in honor of freedom at Valley Forge, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Normandy, Pearl Harbor, Germany, theSouth Pacific, Iwo Jima and Korea.  He is an American son, still a father for his countrymen who still remembers the pains of poverty, the sick and down trodden. And as long as he has an ounce of strength, he will volunteer on their behalf to insure their welfare.

The young father, replied with respect as to allow the older gentlemanhis dignity and sincerity.

“Thank you, Sir.  I think we are fine and have plenty.” 

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“I wanted to make sure your family hadenough food. You are welcome to my potatoes, I didn't touch them, really, I didn't touch them at all.”

The young father answered humbly, 

“I appreciate your offer, thank you Sir, we are fine.”  The elder walked away feeling better for his inquiry and concern butlifted the flap of the front pouch of his bibs and carefully tucked the paper sack of fries into the pocket. 

Life has shown me, that the older generation, the “generation who saved the world” is often ignored.  Our aging fathers and mothers have much wisdom to share.  They do not have face book accounts, send many text messages or surf the web.  Their knowledge came from the feet of their parents and grandparents instead of CNN.  Their life lessons and common sense have served our country well.

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You may be reluctant to speak to someone with white hair, stooped shoulders orbib overalls assuming they are not aware or they do not notice you, but don't fool yourself.  Their bodies maybe old and worn, but their spirits are still young enough to see more about you than you know about yourself. 

For they have seen our country beforein troubled times and made sacrifices so that we could have what many of ustake for granted. I can remember my mother often cautioning me, 

“be sav'in now, you never know when hard times are com'in.”  and I fear she is right.

They are our wisdom keepers, our historians and they should be cherished and revered.  For they endured and seldom questioned – but they endured.

So if your walking down the street sometime and someone looks at you with hollow ancient eyes and you fail to speak or respond, you have lost more than you may know.   As John Prine, the Kentucky born songwriter/singer sang, “Please don't just pass 'em by and stare, as if you don't care, say, hello in there ”  and smile with some down home southern respect – and a treasure will be opened to you, especially if you are somewhere in my south.

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New England Colors; Kyle Finn Dempsey and the Art of Photographing Autumn

Ben Ashby

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Photographer Kyle Finn Dempsey is one of the bests when it comes to documenting the changing colors of New England. We are continually inspired by his work. We sat down with him to learn more about shooting the best shots of autumn's many colors....

 

"Fall feels like a dream in New England. It's not about big grand views here, but about little nooks and crannies and a vast variety of colors."

 

My name is Kyle Finn Dempsey and I live in the hills of Western Massachusetts. I go by the name Huck because my best friend and I were (and still are) a modern day version of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. We've always called each other that, and if you spent an afternoon with us, wandering around the forest barefoot, it'd all start to make sense. I grew up along the Westfield river and and currently live in the same area. I will never let go of my spot, it's my zen and I plan to keep it in the family forever. 

 

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Fall feels like a dream in New England. It's not about big grand views here, but about little nooks and crannies and a vast variety of colors. There's not many other places in the country (or world) that you can find so many different trees who's leaves change color at once. The colors I show in my photos are very real. Of course I put my own spin on them with my edits, but when you're on a fall drive here, you're going to see colors you won't believe. From rich golden yellows on the birch trees, bright red oak and swamp maple leafs, bright orange sugar maple, orange & gold beach leaves and everything in between. Sometimes the colors are so bright they look fake in person. It's seriously jaw dropping.

 

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My favorite places to shoot in New England for the fall are southern Vermont and right near my house in western MA. Southern Vermont always turns about a month early, and is very swampy, so the colors are extremely rich and vibrant. All near me is small valleys and winding backroads, which are my absolute favorite places to explore and shoot. I love traditional New England fall scenes as well as finding new ways to share fall that not many people have seen. Each Northeast state has his own unique flavor to offer, along with classic scenes that come to find when you think of fall. If you want guaranteed color and good views, try the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

 

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One of my favorite towns near me that celebrates fall very well is Ashfield, Ma. It's an incredibly quaint little town with a lake in the middle, a rope swing and a beach, a pizza shop and and an old fashion hardware store. There's always something going on, and in the fall, they have a fantastic little festival in the common lawn. Local crafts and garden vegetables, local music and everything else you can imagine that fits into a small town fairytale. The singer Ray LaMontagne actually has a home in Ashfield. It's one of Massachusetts biggest hidden gems. Keep that between you & I.

 

Peak season is generally right around mid October, though it depends on where you are and how the season is developing. In Southern Vermont, peak was probably October 5th. Here in Western Ma, we're just past peak, and its Oct. 22nd. I'm heading up to southern Maine tomorrow to stay in a tree house, and from what I've heard they are pretty much at peak.

 

I became a photographer when I was 19 or so. I used to rap and make music videos, and I got a camera so I could do all my own media by myself. I didn't seriously start shooting until I was a junior or senior in college. I'm 25 now, and I've been doing photography and video work full time for about 3 years.

 

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Tips for capturing autumn- Check near swamps, rivers and ponds. Try shooting with a drone if possible to find unique formations from above and go places that no one knows about. Drive down backroads near water sources and see what you find. Some of the best colors happen in the places you least expect. Also, overcast and rainy days are will enhance the foliage by about 50%. Sometimes it looks like there's no color on a bright sunny day, and then the next day it rains, the colors shine bright and you're like "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED!?"

 

— @KYLEFINNDEMPSEY

 

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Q + A with Eva Kosmas Flores

Zachary Kilgas

Q: Why did you choose your craft?

A: I really just fell into it as a high-schooler with no thought whatsoever. That being said, when I started by food blog some 8 years after that, I started shooting and styling food because I wanted the recipes to look as good as they actually tasted.

Q: How hard was it to become profitable at it?

A: It took me about 4 years before I made the transition to blogging full-time. I was supporting myself as an assistant in the television industry in LA and living in a little apartment in Studio City, and taking that leap was a really big deal since I didn't have any back-up plans. Working what was essentially 2 full-time jobs for that 4 year period was pretty insane, but it allowed me to really hone my craft and establish my blog before making the big leap to leaving my day job. I recommend *not* rushing into blogging full-time if you're on your own and supporting yourself financially. Try balancing both for at *least* a year and be smart about it, start saving up a certain amount each month and setting it aside to give yourself some padding for the first year of freelancing as a blogger. If you have enough saved to pay your rent and groceries for 6 months, you won't feel as much anxiety about the whole thing and you'll be able to focus more on getting freelance work and doing a quality job with all of it.

Q: Any suggestions to newcomers to the field?

A: Make friends! Seriously, all my food blogger friends are the best people I know, and we all help each other out. It makes a world of difference being able to ask someone with experience about any issues you come across. Like something that's in a client contract that you're not sure is normal, or what is an ok amount to charge for a sponsored IG post based on your following, etc. I actually started a First We Eat Facebook group where all of us could share this info super openly with each other and it's been so fun watching it take off and seeing everyone giving really helpful and awesome advice to each other. Anyone is welcome to request to join!

Q: If you couldn’t be doing your craft, what would you do instead?

A: Man. Well it'd probably be either one of three things—if I stuck with the entertainment industry I'd probably be doing something documentary-related because that was my ultimate goal when I started in that career path years ago, and I still do love documentaries. The second option would be something with plants. Maybe an herbalist? Just a job where I could be surrounded by plants all the time haha. And the last option is teaching. I loooooove teaching people, and my mom and my sister were/are both teachers so it's kind of a familial trait haha.

Q: Any favorite moments of your career so far?

A: I have a few! One of my favorite moments was getting my new cookbook, First We Eat, in the mail and opening the first copy of it. It's the book I've always wanted to write, and it felt so crazy just holding it there in my hands after having it in my head for so many years.

Another favorite moment is the last supper of every one of my First We Eat photography workshops. We've spent several days shooting and eating and exploring together at that point and we've all become so close. Everyone is having the literal time of their lives. Sometimes I mentally step away for a second in that moment and just feel really humbled and amazed that all these incredibly talented people came together to learn from me. I get kind of emotional during those moments haha, gotta reign it in before the waterworks start!!

And my last favorite moment is probably the 'Wintertide' Secret Supper I co-hosted with my friends Danielle, Mona, and Jaret (we all host seasonal Secret Supper pop-up dinners together). We have an awesome group of kickass women volunteers who help us with each supper, and for that particular supper we all spent hours and hours digging a giant trench out of 3 feet of snow so that we had somewhere for the table and chairs for our guests to sit for the meal. Everyone just had the best attitudes and it was such a crazy and wild adventure. The guests absolutely loved it, the food was amazing, and afterwards we were able to clean up really fast and then just hung out in the main room of Suttle Lodge and had hot drinks and relaxed by the fire. It was the best.

Q: What would you do differently if you could start from scratch?

A: I'd have taken it seriously earlier haha. When I first started blogging, it wasn't really a career option like it is now, and I was just doing it for fun to share recipes. I didn't have any strategy or plan or anything like folks do now who start blogs. I think if I had even had like 1 or 2 goals set each year for the first couple years (like 'start a mailing list' or 'start a Facebook page') it would have sped up my career/blog growth.

Q: Is there a defining moment in your career so far?

A: When I opened sales for my online photography course I met my 6-month sales goal in the first 4 weeks. My husband and I had worked SOOOOO hard on it for months, and at the end of a long project like that I always wonder "will anyone even use this?" You know you start to get a little nervous and doubtful closer to the release date. But the response was HUGE, and all the feedback has been so insanely positive. There wasn't really anything of that caliber out there for people who wanted to learn about food photography and styling but couldn't afford a travel-based workshop, and being able to provide that for folks and hearing from them and actually seeing the improvement in their work through their instagram accounts and their blogs has been really moving. It felt so good to be able to teach and help so many people at one time.

Q: Is there anything you really enjoy in your craft vs another line of work?

A: I really like that I can travel a lot. I love learning about other cultures, especially when it comes to how they interact with and prepare food, and hosting the photography workshops helps me be able to go to many different places and then also share that food culture with the attendees while we're there. I also like that I'm able to work from home, because when I'm not traveling I'm kind of a hermit and really really really love being in my house and in my garden.


Q: Biggest pet peeve about the industry?

A: I think like any large public platform, it gives some folks the ability to be publicly disingenuous and then be rewarded for it. Which basically means that sometimes people are phonies and don't practice what they preach, which is a bummer. But those are few and far between in the food blogging realm, honestly. It's a pretty fantastic community and I am so happy to be a part of it!

Q: Is flannel really always appropriate?

A: F*CK YES IT IS.

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Be Kind // Stella Marina

Zachary Kilgas

Be Kind. 


Kindness in its essence is a trait sometimes undervalued and often forgotten.  
Yet a few words carefully selected, or simply left unspoken can mean the difference between a smile and a tear.  We speak of intention, of gratitude and karma, but a simple act of selfless kindness is all it can take to brighten or soften the days of at least two people. 

 

It is present in babies when they are born, no child comes into this world with a preconceived idea of malice or hatred, we arrive with the capacity to love unconditionally, yet slowly that capability becomes ground down and chipped away over the years. In some minds, the potential for love, charity or altruism becomes crystallised, growing in new forms, in others a sort of calcification takes place, a smooth, hardened shell presents itself to the world.
 I might like to add here, that I do not write this from some rose-tinted cloud of kindness and empathy. I write this from my kitchen table, where I am slumped. I dragged myself here across the carpet because today I had a panic attack and I had to leave work.  I have felt the rumblings of one for the past week or so, but some loose-lipped words this morning sent me over the edge, and as I lay on my bed in that hazy aftermath where you feel completely empty and a little bit numb. I decided that the best thing to do was something constructive with this feeling (I also had to stop the day from feeling wasted).  
 

To draw us back to my favourite analogy, life on a boat actually offers up a wonderful platform for kindness. 

To be at sea grants us a condensed version of the outside world, yes it is archaic and often patriarchal, but it relies on wanting to keep one another alive. We depend on one another, knowing that the task ahead would be so much harder if not impossible alone. That self-reliant entity that is your ship, allows you to shed the skin of daily life, removing all other roles and responsibilities aside from sailing, eating, sleeping and how you will progress from A to B. Each change of direction is predetermined by a greater force, you cannot fight the wind, you can only harness it in order to move forward. Maybe this applies to our emotions, to anger or frustration? Bottling them up inside will rarely relinquish them, you may only harness that energy in order to move forward. Then there are the consequences of careless harsh words in an environment fuelled by broken sleeping patterns and constant movement. Not only are those words magnified but there is no easy exit, you are with those people for better or for worse, so please let's be kind. These words are easy to write, the thoughts are easy to form. The hard part is in the heat of the moment when you are distracted or angry. I do not claim that it is possible to constantly check yourself for thoughts of anger. The freedom to express our thoughts, ideas and emotions in any way that we like is a human luxury, we must try only not to exploit it. If you are granted words, please use them kindly. If you are granted authority, please use it wisely.

Carpe Noctem // Evan Pollock

Zachary Kilgas

Carpe noctem. Sieze the night. This series by Evan Pollock shows nighttime as it should be seen.

A Look at Chernobyl // Barbara Arcuschin

Zachary Kilgas

Photographer Barbara Arcuschin submitted these eerie photos of Chernobyl.

It’s been over 32 years since the catastrophe, and less than 10 since the site was opened for tourism. The area surrounding the former power plant won’t be safe for human habitation for the next 20,000 years.

“Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There’s nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air.” 
― Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl

Photographer of the Day // Mike Kelley

Zachary Kilgas

From the first glance, each of his photos are extremely inviting. So inviting, that I almost felt like a firsthand witness. My brain invented sounds, smells, and sensations immediately-- the bears' snarls, the salty sea air hitting my nose, bare toes on a wooden dock. 

Click through for an adventure. 

Adventurer Q&A // Giulia Woergartner

Zachary Kilgas

The color yellow is bright, full of life, and undefinable. Many adults cower away from wearing yellow though, offering the excuse that yellow is "childish." Yellow is a color that requires a boldness to wear. It's not a color for the faint of heart. 

Giulia Woergartner calls herself, "the girl with the yellow jacket." Her yellow jacket she explained, is her trademark, a stamp that marks her adventures and photography as distinctly hers. 

[Q] Why do you adventure & Why do you explore? 

[A] Exploring means discovering new things, having fresh eyes for every new day and being inspired by little moments. I want to keep my eyes, ears and heart wide open. I want to create my own vision of the world and share it with others to inspire them to go on their own little adventures. I have a desire to see the most beautiful corners of this world. I have traveled and experienced quite a lot over the last few years, but the curiosity to see more keeps me going. My goal is not just to come home different, but better.

[Q] Why take risks in life?    

[A] Because life is short and it can be over at any given moment.

[Q] Where are you from?

[A] I am from the Dolomites, Italy.

[Q] What is your 9-5?

[A] I am a full time travel photographer, still sounds crazy to me if I say it!

[Q] When you were growing up what or who did you want to be?  

[A] I have always been a creative child, I always dreamed about being a painter or musician. Well any kind of artist really!

[Q] Favorite place you've visited?    

[A] The Faroe Islands and New Zealand still are my favourite destinations to this date!

[Q] Place you most desperately want to visit?

[A] Patagonia and a lot of places in the US.

[Q] What  has  changed  about  you  because  of  your  travels    

[A] I have become a more confident, open and loving individual

[Q] Who  is  the  most  dynamic  and  thought  provoking  person  you've  ever  met    

[A] Good question, I think that person is still out there!

[Q] If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why?  

[A] I would like to go back in time and travel with some of the real explorers 

[Q] Must haves for travel?

[A] My camera and a yellow jacket! 

[Q] Travel tips?  

[A] Sleep in cars, cook for yourself, save your money for more travels.

[Q] When  did  you  feel  you  were  most  out  of  your  comfort  zone? What  did  you  learn  from  that  lesson?

[A] I did a 7 months solo trip to New Zealand after graduating high school. I flew from Italy all the way to the other side of the world to explore ad capture every corner of New Zealand. I bought a van and lived in it for about 6 months. The first few weeks were tough as I had to adapt to this lifestyle and to the new environment. After a few weeks I realised that I was free to do whatever I want and I could simply enjoy life and see all these stunning places. The few things that I was really worried about at first ended up being the greatest benefits and lessons of this adventure: when you have a dream or a vision, you just have to go for it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it, no matter how silly or ridiculous your dream might appear to others. Following your passion is the only thing that will bring you happiness.

[Q] What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? 

[A] I would show them my pictures and let them speak for me.

[Q] What would you say to your former self?  

[A] Love more, hug more. Be bold. Don't let fear run your life. Have confidence in yourself. Don't be self-conscious. Don't be so hard on yourself and have more patience.

[Q] Where to next?

[A] Canada!

[Q] Is flannel always in season? 

[A] Of course!

Photographer Update // Joshua Fuller

Zachary Kilgas

I have always loved idioms. If you're unfamiliar with them, idioms are seemingly nonsensical phrases that by usage became loaded with meaning-- kill two birds with one stone, once in a blue moon, pot calling the kettle black. 

There's an Icelandic idiom, "Það eru margar undur í höfuðkúpu," which translates roughly to "there are many wonders in a cow's head." To my understanding, it's a way to say that the world is crazy. 

These landscape photos from Joshua Fuller's trip to Iceland had me pondering the wonders in a cow's head. 

Adventurer Q&A // Derek Tice

Zachary Kilgas

At Folk, we're actively trying to get to know our readers. We know that each person adventures for a different reason, and we aim to tell your stories. 

[Q] What's your name?

[A] Derek Tice.

[Q] Why do you adventure? Why do you explore?

[A] I want to see and experience as much as I can in this short lifetime I have been given. My brother and I grew up in a family that pursued an outdoor lifestyle. I was on skis by the age of two and dirt biking as soon as I had mastered the peddle bike. Growing up in this fashion has led me to appreciate and pursue a life of adventure where I feel most at home in the outdoors.
I didn’t find a passion for photography until I took a photo course in grad school where I picked up my mom’s old Nikon film camera and began to shoot. I was immediately addicted, the feel and sound of the shutter button was bliss. I soon found myself documenting all of the weekend adventures my friends and I would go on. Photography was a way I could implement design/art into the adventure lifestyle I had grown up knowing.

[Q] Why take risks in life?

[A] Have you heard of adrenaline? Yeah it’s nice.

[Q] Where are you from?

[A] Bozeman, Montana

[Q] What is your 9-5?

[A] I work as an Architect in training for a design firm.

[Q] When you were growing up what or who did you want to be?

[A] Growing up, I was always fascinated with the ocean. Being from the land locked state of Montana, it was a mysterious entity to me. As a kid I always thought I would be somewhere in the marine biology field, or scuba diving at the very least (sad part is, I have yet to go scuba diving).

[Q] Favorite place you've visited recently?

[A] Swingarm City= Epic Landscapes + Dirt bikes

[Q] Place you most desperately want to visit?

[A] Any place I haven’t been to yet.

[Q] What has changed about you because of your travels?

[A] My travels and photography have taught me how to see the world. Finding beauty in the everyday makes life worth living.

[Q] Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met?

[A] This is a tough question because it suggests I need to rate the people that have been/are in my life. I would have to say any person who has had the time to share a conversation over a campfire. Everybody brings their own ideas to the table, you just have to know how to listen.

[Q] If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why?

[A] My girlfriend, she levels me out, and is the jokiest joke maker I’ve ever met.

[Q] Must haves for travel?

[A] A tripod. I tend to usually forget mine and end up stacking rocks or finding some other means of creating a stand that never quite adds up to a sturdy tripod. Oh, and a good attitude.

[Q] Travel tips?

[A] Go with the flow. Our lives are inherently based on routine. Take the time to travel and break the mundane schedule of the everyday world.

[Q] What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling?

[A] My girlfriend and I took a weekend trip to Glacier National Park. Knowing that the crowds would be outrageous during tourist season we planned on getting to the campground a little before 6:00a.m. to ensure we got a spot at the campground in the park (a first come first serve basis). We arrived before the sun was fully up to a line of cars waiting at the entrance of the campground. We ended up being the 14th car in line. Ridiculous, but we were anticipating it. Everybody was frustrated and there was even a car who managed to sneak their way into line, cutting a bunch of us off and putting us further behind in line. It was pure chaos. As we pulled up to the gate being the next car inline, the ranger told us that it was a 50/50 chance we would get a spot. 20 minutes later she appeared and told us we would be getting the last spot for the day. Feeling relieved we couldn’t help but feel bad for the 15 or so cars behind us that had wasted their entire morning. So we took it upon ourselves to have the ranger invite the car behind us to camp at our spot. They immediately took the invitation and were extremely grateful that they paid for the camp spot. Even if it were the slightest of gestures, we were relieved to offer some humanity in a morning full of disarray. To this day National Parks do not appeal to me as they once did, but I hope I left it a little better then I found it.

[Q] Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger.

[A] Kindness. Respect the people around you and treat this earth like you live here.

[Q] What would you say to someone who has never travelled before?

[A] To each their own

[Q] When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone. What did you learn from that lesson?

[A] Any time I’m standing on a cliff edge I’m out of my comfort zone. This taught me that I’m very scared of heights.

[Q] What would you say to your former self?

[A] Good luck out there

[Q] What gives you hope?

[A] The two days at the end of the work week and a full tank of gas.

[Q] Where to next?

[A] I ask myself the same thing everyday. I normally don’t know until I get there. I travel for the in-betweens not the destination.

[Q] Is flannel always in season?

[A] Only if the sleeves are cut off, Hell yeah brother.

Stay Outside // Photographer Ben Hoffman

Ben Ashby

There's a specific kind of joy that comes from being outside-- toes in the grass, a cool ocean breeze, the smell that lingers after a long down pour. It's all magical. Ben Hoffman's love for photography stems from his love for the outdoors. 

Each photo he sent us feels like an invitation, a call to get outside, and stay there.  

35 mm and Marrakech

Zachary Kilgas

Katie Bird is a photographer with a passion for traveling. She sent this mini series of a single stop on her 18 month trip throughout Asia, and Australia. She captures life with vivid simplicity.  

Photographer of the Day: Nick Cagol

Zachary Kilgas

Thirty year old, Nick Cagol is a part time photographer who lives in Northern Italy. His goal is to capture more than just the beauty of a landscape, he aims to capture a story. More of his photography can be seen on Instagram @alchenick

Do What You Dream

Zachary Kilgas

The melodic words of Ingrid Michealson’s song “You and I” bounced around in my head as I read a long email from Christian Bendel. Truthfully, I felt silly about it. As I continued to read Christian’s candid recollection of his adventure through Provence, I broke down and got reacquainted with the song.

“Let’s get rich and buy our parent’s homes in the south of France,” Ingrid says whimsically. 

The rhythmic song dared me to dream, but Christian’s words pushed me further. The goal of the adventure was, in his words, “to do what he dreamed, instead of simply talking about it.”

Much like the song, Christian’s adventure was a love story, and his photo series captures their relationship intimately. Together, they traveled through canyons, cities, and around mountains. They cooked their meals on a fire, and slept in their car.

Christian said he aspires to do things differently. He explained that living this dream was not a straightforward path, but one that required spontaneity, and flexibility. He called this adventure, and his past ones, “Crossroads” for that reason.

Joshua Fuller // A Look at Landscape

Zachary Kilgas

Josephine Hart believed that our souls have an eternal geography, a landscape if you will. She said that we constantly search for its outlines. Much like explorers, we attempt to chart maps of our souls, day in and day out. Landscape photography, at it's best, allows us to see the shapes of our souls. We're able to juxtapose ourselves with the divinity of nature, and decide where we sit between the two. 

Photographer, Joshua Fuller submitted this series from his travels. More of his work can be found on Instagram @Joshua_Fuller_ 

Alex and the American Kids

Ben Ashby

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Photographer Alex McDonald has shared dozens of photo essays with us over the years. This one was a few years ago and remains one of our favorites. 

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