The Pimpographers of Climbing

Behind every photo of ripped, glistening pieces of cooked chicken voodooing their way up ungodly-steep inclines on holds too small for a hummingbird to shit on is an artist with a crazy perspective and a passion for making hardcore people look even more hardcore. They are the pimpographers of climbing. The following is a list of some of climbing’s raddest shuttergicians and why they are so sick.

Keith Ladzinski
Keith Ladzinski.  His name is a sentence. The man continues to amaze me with his ability to harness light in crazy ways without compromising the beauty of the natural surroundings. He’s like the Thomas Kinkade of climbing photography, without the emphasis on quaint English cottages, friendly winter landscapes, and DUIs.

Ben Moon
The more familiar you become with Ben Moon’s simple and awesome portraits of climbers, the more you’ll realize just how pervasive they are in the climbing world.  I think his black and white head shot of Steve House has been published more times than that National Geographic pic of the Afghan girl with those crazy googly eyes. I hope Moon collects royalties on that photo until he’s 80 because it’s a great shot, and because sometimes a good portrait speaks louder than than any shot of a climb (which he also gets amazing results from).

Jimmy Chin
Renan Ozturk
On top of being amazing athletes in their own right, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk have become artesian wells of stunning stills and video. Jimmy floats down vertical faces on skis and Renan floats up them on crampons. There’s a reason the Camp 4 Collective keeps rolling out on bazillion dollar North Face budgets to the far corners of the world. Because very few professionals can can get there and back alive with the quality of material that they consistently do. Renan is also an amazing sketch artist and painter (and no DUIs!).

Boone Speed
Boone Speed climbs as hard as he shoots.  If I climbed 5.14s I guarantee I’d getter better angles and be invited to better parties. I cut the hem off of Chris Sharma’s shirt last Outdoor Retailer. It’s been in my chalk bag ever since but no signs of levitation.

Simon Carter
It wouldn’t bode well for John Wayne if he and Simon Carter somehow got into a lassoing match, especially if Wayne is afraid of heights. Carter is simply a master tactician when it comes to rope handling. I’ve read that the man sometimes spends two or three days rigging up a spider web of static lines from multiple high points to get the wicked perspectives he always seems to.

Andrew Burr
Andrew Burr must have more charisma than Hitler. It seems like every time I approach an outdoor company about shots Burr has already quietly and suavely put them in his pocket. I’ve actually started to use his name as verb amongst friends. “What?! No more PBRs?!” “Yeah, sorry dude, you just got Burred.” The man also cranks out phenomenal work.

Jim Thornburg
James Q. Martin
Jim Thornburg and James Q. Martin, thanks for leading the way back when you had to be technically sound, because film doesn’t lie.

Nathan Smith
It’s gotta be hard to make a name for yourself when it’s the most common last name in the western world.

This list is in no way comprehensive because I sometimes live under a rock and because new talent pop up like daisies with every new issue of Alpinist, Climbing and Rock & Ice. Corey Rich and Cory Richards should both be on this list for their amazing contributions but I couldn’t think of anything witty to say about them. If you haven’t, spend hours checking out the links to the above artists, because you will. All these artists are phenomenal so follow them on whatever social media cults they prescribe to.