Why I chose "Adventure Guy" / by chris miele

Make no mistake, adventure is a loaded word.  Today’s digital landscape is littered with mountain-top selfies, urban explorers, and 18 year olds traveling the globe.  It’s a word that’s certainly high atop the marketing echelon.  So when I chose to create work under the brand Adventure Guy (spoiler: yes it’s a brand) I had to really look at why I was choosing to associate myself under such a broad and potentially banal umbrella.  

Venice, CA

Venice, CA

As I transitioned from a dedicated amateur photographer to a professional, I had to dig deep and look at WHY I REALLY DO THIS and why I wanted to do it PROFESSIONALLY.  For months I battled internally how to define my work, not just describe my aesthetic.  What messages were I trying to convey?   How strong were the stories I was telling?  Things that hadn’t resonated with me before were now a massive roadblock in the way of taking the next step.  

SD hangs.  San Diego, CA

I would sit on the beach, staring at the Pacific Ocean hard enough to make the colors shift (a couple times they did) hoping that my subconscious would spit out the answers.  It was during these sessions that I began to understand what defined me.  Freedom, ritual, magic, leadership, and among others buzzwords, adventure.  These abstract words and phrases began to permeate my mind as I connected the dots.  With these core ideas swirling around I honed in on adventure.

It's never too late out when the sky looks like this.  Eastern Sierras, CA

The more I stewed over the word I understood how it applied to each and every day, not just photography.  Soon adventure became a reference to living freely.  The ambition needed to work for yourself, that’s what adventure is.  Having the confidence to look how you want, engage in subcultures, and frankly give no fucks.  Living adventurous starts when you wake up and shapes your entire day’s decisions.  Adventure is knowing what you stand for and lusting after what makes you feel alive.  Adventure is creating art that truly and HONESTLY expresses you.  Adventure can be as simple as choosing your bicycle over the car when it’s cold out, or as intense as summitting a Sierra peak. 

Underground caves aren't only found in the mountains.  Detroit, MI.

So while I’m likely to prefer shooting a blazing backcountry sunset, living as Adventure Guy has taught me that shooting a Detroit restaurant interior is just as challenging, rewarding, and exhilarating.  More importantly, this new journey has allowed me to apply much of what I’ve learned about myself over the last 5 years and reflect that through my art.  When I’m Adventure Guy, I feel the most true to myself.  On any given day you'll catch me twirling my mustache, turning up the bass too loud, wearing as many clashing patterns as possible, and of course, burning your retinas with photos that have too much color.  In a world where we're fed bullshit for breakfast and told what to consume, adventure is about doing the opposite.  So to those who wake up and live for themselves, I salute you, because that's what it means to adventure.

It's rare, but that's me, taken by me.  Burning Man.