Behind the Lens w/ Rachel Bock

Hey Rachel! How’s it going? Tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to this season?

Hi! This season has been extremely busy between finding a balance with finishing/graduating college along with an east coast photographer job at Big Boulder Park in PA, making it out to CO to shoot events along with various other freelance graphic design work as well. But, it’s all extremely enjoyable. I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not always on the move.

For my last term of school I had to do a senior thesis graphic design project, this took up a decent chunk of my life. I made an exhibit based off the Notion of Freeskiing; the physics, motion and psychology behind a park skier. Also made a couple posters (for sale!) to go along with the exhibit; Vograbulary, Spinacular, and Physics. Here’s the link to the project summary.

Got to shoot Dew Tour back in December, the Fenway Big Air in Boston, MA was unforgettable, and lots of weekend gigs. Classes were Monday-Thursday in Philly so having three day weekends and 19 credits each term kept things hopping.

Just recently got home from a solid ten days in Andorra shooting and designing for the Slvsh Cup Sunset Park. That was a dope experience, to say the least.

22 on the 22nd! 😛 #goldenbirthday

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Name one male and one female photographer you take inspiration from.

Jamie Walter – majorly jealous of the night sky photography opportunities Maine has brought him. Before I shot skiing I dabbled a lot more with star photos, light trails etc.. but Pennsylvania’s sky was limiting. His aurora borealis photos are so proper.

Illana Emily – I’m actually relatively new to the ski industry photo scene. She was someone I looked to for advice about a year ago. I would look at her insta also for ideas on bettering / changing up my own photos.

Do you consider photography a hobby or a career? Talk to us a bit about the difference between the two?

A little bit of both. Why can’t a hobby be a career?

By profession I am a graphic designer. I have a frickin awesome degree/education the field and actually plan to use that as a “career” rather than photography. Photo was originally just a hobby, and I still consider it a hobby, however, it is a hobby that is very quickly turning into a career. When I first started school at Drexel, a very corporate college located in Philadelphia, PA, my professors asked me what I wanted to do with graphic design. I told them I wanted to combine photo, graphics and skiing. They thought I was nuts because of being in Philly, along with them not really knowing anything about the freeski industry and how graphic design could work with it. I think I’m on the way to achieving that goal still…

jet lagged // April 14th 5:22am

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How many published magazine photos have you had?

None. Or, at least, none that I know of.

How much money have you made from graphic design work in skiing?

From just graphic design work in skiing? Enough for me to scoot around to events on the continental US. Not enough for me to pay for a lease somewhere while doing so. What professors at school ballparked I should charge for work versus what people in this particular industry are actually going to pay is very different.

What are some of the companies you’ve worked within freeskiing?

Newschoolers, like I said before, has given me a bunch of sweet opportunities this past season being in their Photo and Gear editor programs.

I’ve been working pretty close with the Revision Skis crew this past two season, getting designs for a lady’s lineup finaled up. Revision just revealed a sneak peak to the top sheets! Definitely a fan of what they have going. A park/jib/pow skier oriented company. I believe it was Tall T Dan that said “if you ride skis made by a ski company that also makes race skis, you’re not supporting our niche” which I 100% agree with.

The Slvsh crew has also been very dope to work with. It’ll almost be a year now that I’ve helped them out with graphics/posters/banners and more recently photos. Again, fully support the idea of bringing the creative factor back into skiing. Avoiding the core, judged comps, and bringing love back to style and creativity. Along with creating a platform by which is strictly quality skiing, where you don’t have to search all over to see something good. Only better things to come with them too.

STOKED to announce a sneak peak of my topsheet designs for the @revisionskis ladies line coming out this fall. #graphicdesign #mandala

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Is it important to have a platform like Newschoolers for amateur creatives and athletes? What are some of the pros and cons of that community?

Yes and no. Newschoolers is great in the aspect that it is an established forum for freeskiers and creators in the industry to gather to and post their content. It gives an online outlet for young skiers, along with an outlet for media creators to share their content and get “discovered”. Thanks to NS I was able to shoot a bunch of events this season.

Some cons of this community would be the amount of content that actually gets posted on there, is then available to whoever to rip, download and share on their own terms without giving proper credit to who it is deserved. It gives sponsors and companies somewhere to go to get free content.

It’s such a massive library of shots, videos and content that a lot of the better content eventually gets lost in the website.

I think the audience on NS is also fairly critical/immature and hard/annoying to deal with at times.

Do you think social media is offering a “new” outlet for people to share their work? As a creative professional, do you think social media has led to the devaluation of quality imagery?

I think instagram is the “new” outlet of the generation, giving just about anyone the ability to put their content out there. I wouldn’t say its lead to the devaluation of quality imagery, rather it has made it so easy to share imagery, that the idea of “quality” is extremely subjective these days. Its given just about anyone the ability to look at, copy, suggest, criticize, rip etc.. anything seen online. Is this bad? Yes and no. They say copying is the best form of flattery, but how do you know if work is original or not? Does being original even matter anymore? Or does whoever has the most likes actually matter?

Social media and content has become a lot more of a popularity game also. When it comes to the ski industry, being a chick in the industry is definitely an unfair advantage. “The tit factor” is what I call it. There’s thousands of 15year old NS boys following the lady skiers making their posts the more popular ones. Is this bad? No, not necessarily. But it also makes being a chick in the industry easier to “get known,” you just have to be able to backup your likes if you actually want to succeed or make money.

pure joy ❄️😛🧀

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What kind of content do you consume?

Pinterest has become my main source of Graphic Design content. There are so many neat ideas when you fill your feed with content relevant to your passion versus food things. I’m always looking at hashtags on insta as well to see what other people are up to in the design world. Trends, methods and ideas are constantly changing and evolving, it’s rather exciting actually. The design/creative world is a whole nother industry, completely different from the ski industry.

On a skiing note, Slvsh and Newschoolers.

I spend a decent amount of time hype machine and soundcloud as well, trying to keep new music in the library.

Every now and then I’ll buy an issue from Monster Children or Skateboard Mag too. People say print is dead, but there are a lot of good publications out there that are extremely well designed, with exceptional photography. These two being prime examples.

Do you think there are any difference when trying to make it as a female photographer vs a male photographer?

Yes, like I said earlier, chicks in the industry have an unfair advantage due to the normal 10 to 1 ratio, they’re more likely to get “known” easier.

Describe what you mean by “known” and how it relates to making a living off of photography.

Being known, they know your name, your insta tag, what you do, and probably what you look like. Within our industry it’s a lot more about who you know rather than what you know. Obviously what you know matters, but you can know everything and everything about photography and have a dope camera setup, but you don’t have an “in” to a company or work because no one knows who you are, what your work is like, how your work ethic is.. etc

Do you think your good looks have contributed to a larger fanbase on social media?

Ha! Well thank you. I’ve been told the genetic lottery was in my favor (thanks mom and dad) but I think my favorite part is surprising people with what’s behind “the looks”. Don’t judge a blonde by its cover 😉 You wouldn’t be able to guess I can read and write HTML/css code to make you a responsive website.

Just like any other chick, yeah it helps to have a nice smile, or eyes, hair, whatever… but if you have a skill that’s worth following to a select group of people, then you can’t argue with that either.

peace out philly #graduated

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What advice do you have for someone just picking up a camera?

Shoot everyday.

Don’t go around asking people what lenses they use, where they shoot, how they got into it. Asking will only get you so far. A person learns best by making mistakes, trying things on their own, going out of their comfort zone. Also, buy the basic cheapest stuff first, because you might hate it in a month.

Learn how to take a good photo with just the basics, it’s not always camera equipment but rather the person, and what the person can do with their camera equipment.

Where do you see yourself in five years? What about fifteen?

I see myself still involved with the ski industry, however, not necessarily the ski industry alone. With a steady graphics and/or photo job, availability to travel, with someone and in potentially any place as long as it’s with the right people.

Perhaps the same thing in 15 years, but also maybe on a boat somewhere tropical. Margs on deck.

games dropping on weekdays, daily for the next 16 days. #SlvshCupSunsetPark

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have a great last day at @woodwardcopper boys! wish I could be there today to shoot ya.. #keepemdirty

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the final // hall v braten // #slvshcupsunsetpark

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roll 3 // Macba // #filmisnotdead

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Pé with the press

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