What leaves the mark for me when I see a new photograph on my tumblr feed of a mountain biker? It depends although it can be from a race or competition if it has that certain something to it that I personally like. Muted colors, not too much flare and some kind of natural or gnarly (or both) aspect that leaves not just the impression of that is a good photo but more along the lines of I want to do that! There is a subtle message to some of these pictures across the spectrum: selling a sort of dream almost. It has been a driving force behind many extreme sports (especially surfing and skateboarding). The way the dream is sold, to me, is remarkably different when it comes to mountain biking and as of this writing, as I am new to mountain biking (but not biking) I am finding that the message I am telling myself goes beyond the scope of I want to do that and into where will I be? Who will be around? I often day dream of going back home and mountain biking the old dirt roads where I used to live (something I really want to do but haven't been able to). Imagery is important, we try to convey in a moment an entire thing which might not be to others what was intended. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but sometimes they can say a lot. When I revisit the first picture my first thought isn't even to where I was, when it was or what was going on. My first thought somehow comes up being (personal) freedom.
[Credit: Marina Ferrai & tumblr]
And then there is that, someone doing an insanely awesome looking jump. What does that speak to me when I look at it? Gnarly, fun, hardcore and maybe a little sketchy. Ok well in my context that looks like a for sure trip to the local hospotal, taking that away and seeing someone else do it sells me on the power of the possible. So many of people sit around believing they are powerless and in some things we all are. But at the most personal level we all have the power to save up for a bike, an art kit - whatever.
It is all about an idea, a dream. Something imagery sells sometimes effectively, sometimes ridiculously. Many extreme sports tout these ideas of limitlessness (is that a word?) but with things like social media and morons with their own webservers (that would be me) a new paradigm is starting to emerge: reality. What I have noticed over the last few years is the relative aspect of what one persons dream is to another. In fact I recently had yet another situation where I ran into the it isn't them dude it is you scenario. I was talking to someone about, basically, what they like to do in their past times. Essentially this person simply liked to go and look at things. Say a mountain, they'll drive there and look at it. Of course.... we all know what looney sports enthusiasts are thinking right?
In other words my first thought was Okay you got there then what? You just look at it? Why? - but that is not them - that is me and by extension us. There is that old saying: one persons dream is another persons nightmare. Or more simply what we take for granted as riders, what we think is or is not extreme often appears to others to be extraordinary. By the same token I look at many outdoors recreation that I don't do (or things I am not capable of) and admire it while whispering dude that is nuts.
[Credit: Marina Ferrai & tumblr]
At the end of the day it is all interprative to each individual. Just like any art form how does it make you feel? The picture above makes me smile and think that looks like fun or as the weather is the way it is now I would really rather be riding around there right now. Last and not least there is always this good old picture that reminds me of the fun after the fun: