Inspiration: Depth Perception
I don't exactly know at what point humans came to terms with the awe of the natural world around them, but I certainly know that we are living in a void of disconnect from those times. It is so strange to imagine a creature so far removed from it's environment that it has to manufacture moments of natural nostalgia (read: camping). Yet this is the world you and I live in, that our parents lived in and, unfortunately, our children will most likely live in as well. But it has always fascinated me that there are some species who's lifespan is so vast, that they could recall a time before all of this- before we lost touch. Imagine: there are sea turtles alive today who lived in the oceans before we poisoned them, trees that breathed air before we polluted it...It is in this vein of thought that we are carried through Travis Rice's new film, ' Depth Perception '.
Narrated by the wisdom of an ancient tree (stay with me here, things are going to get weird and we need more of that), the film tells us the story of four friends weaving themselves into the fabric of history in powder heaven, Galena, BC. As equally humorous as he can be prophetic, the narrator plays on the fascinating idea of "What if trees could talk?" Personally, this is a concept that I have creatively contemplated for years. Projecting consciousness into things creates some interesting scenarios, for sure. Imagine what Leonardo's canvas has to say, or a medieval sword.... I guess you could say my fascination with storytelling is a bit eccentric, but hey, overkill is often under-rated.
The film takes a step away from the epic vibe that we saw in Rice's last two major films, "Art of Flight" and "The fourth phase", and mellows out into a warmer and more casual feel. A huge part part of the tone setting is nailed by the ultra indy soundtrack, favoring many acoustic instrumentals over the high-energy pop/synth sounds of "Art of Flight". This is balanced with a very natural cinematography and stylizing of the imagery. If you are a die hard marketing professional, you might feel compelled to choke out the word "authentic". To get away from buzzwords, if "The Fourth Phase" was akin to 'Planet Earth', "Depth Perception" looks more like a classic action sports film. The sexy visuals are still there, but the look feels far more grainy and raw than it does camera porn.
If I were goldie-locksing (technical term), I would put "Depth Perception" in the middle as my sweet spot from a creators perspective. The visuals are still grand, the snowboarding is still epic, the humor will still make you lol, but what really sets this one apart for me is the story. Watching the film is reminiscent of sitting around a campfire under the stars, listening to the kind of stories of adventures that make you never want to fall asleep because there is so much goddamn living to to be done in this world. (Think I'm kidding? I'm writing this at 1am, daydreaming of smooth lines winding through ancient forests. For real.)
Described as a "project of passion" in the credits by Travis Rice himself, you can tell that this was a movie made by people who love making movies to share the world with others. "Depth Perception" makes the viewer want to get out there. It makes back country snowboarding lines not only seem accessible- but just good old fashioned fun, too.
From a creative perspective, I feel like "Depth Perception" is a microcosm of today's bleeding cries from art directors everywhere asking for imagery that feels real, less about production value and more about... story. I think we all are going through a cultural shift of returning to our roots. Stepping away from high production concept art in favor of the feeling of reality. #NoFilter, if you will. And the truth is, I think this is a sign of humanity hitting a fascinating point in our history where the average person has the opportunity to tell the stories of their life better than ever before.
We all have cameras in our pockets, and more importantly the means to share our stories with the world. Brands are fawning over the authenticity of user-generated content, and consumers are lowering their tolerance for highly stylized BS. It's like we all are yearning to reach through the disconnect to enjoy something refreshingly real. In this way, "Depth Perception" feels like a warm hug, whispering in your ear that it is okay to play- it's okay to get out there, just keep it real.
I pull inspiration from many places, a huge source being time out in nature, living the adventures that I want to share. I recently had a discussion with a rockstar producer about the sickening irony of a corporate conference room full of people sitting inside trying to decide what "real life" looks like. Talk about ingenuous. We have to get out there, we have to be living it in order to capture the feeling.
Because of this, I'm always grateful to pull inspiration from other creators who are getting it right- so I'm sending a huge "Thank you!" to the team behind "Depth Perception." Watching the film made me feel excited to live in today's age, and eager to take on the challenge of reconnecting. More an more I associate less with being a photographer, and instead with being an artist. A creator. A storyteller. "Depth Perception" is a great affirmation of the importance of that, and I'm feeling creatively on fire.
Let's get out there and tell more stories!