Insightful, Inspiring, and Incredible are three words that come to mind when both researching and recording with Ian Finch. With a fisherman Father fascinated by native cultures and with Ian’s own background in the Royal Marines, he has gone on to explore and adventure with culture at the forefront of his mind.
Having paddled the Yukon river, led expeditions across Norway, canoed into the wild Highlands, and so much more, Ian’s experience and stories are unique… and yet the experience connecting with people over the love and necessity of nature can be experienced by all.
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Before We Begin
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“That cultural thread drives every expedition that I do”
The Search for a Way Of Life and Thinking
Growing up surrounded by Inuit art and native culture history, Ian’s primary passion for these big expeditions is culture.
There is just so much to telling their stories. Stories of what’s happening to these people, – culturally, socially, and economically. Are they able to live from the land, and if not: why? Is the changing environment affecting their ability to live from the land? Do they have a strong connection to ancestors? What about the younger generation?
With drives and motives like these it is clear to see how Ian has excelled at expeditions such as paddling himself 2000 miles along the Yukon River talking with the Athabaskan people, or following in the footsteps of the Cherokee across America.
“When you go on these trips and you speak to people you could be there for days asking questions and having conversations”
We chat about some cultural moments that really stood out for him, and you can listen to that further in the podcast (about half way through!).
Living In The Moment vs. Capturing The Moment
From canoeing with beautiful light to having a photograph wherever you point your camera, it’s hard to balance this ever-old problem when on adventures.
The frenzy of taking it all in, whilst also positioning yourself, the kit, the lighting, the backdrop, and the camera results in “a tough dichotomy between being present and being that photographer and being that creator” he is.
But it’s much more philosophical than that. Ian asks himself about the narrative. Why is he there? Is this a real story telling moment? Does he need to capture it?
Then, with all of these influences and threads pulling against each other, he weighs up – as an outdoorsman – the question of when to take and when not to take a picture.
“…is the camera becoming a middle man between me not actually being present in the moment and looking and appreciating the light, the mountains, the river? Should I be putting the camera away and walking around and appreciating the true beauty of the moment?
Some of the best pictures aren’t the ones that you take, they’re the ones that you remember“
It appears all too easy to overthink in these situations, but as Ian points out: it just takes experience to make that split second decision to act or to pause.
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