ISOFUN Wants You to Quit Your Day Job

  • by Jenny Bahn

Nothing will make you hate being stuck indoors at your desk all summer quite like the images from ISOFUN, a project started by a group of adventure photographers who bandied together, hellbent on inspiring you to get outside and into the world, scaling mountains with your bare fingertips. Look risky? It is. But you only live once. Might as well get your heart racing while you're here.

ISAORA’s a fan of getting out there, and so we talked to Alex Manelis, one of the guys behind this operation.

What is ISOFUN?

The basis behind ISOFUN is that we’re simply a small, tight-knit community of adventure photographers [including Matt Haig and Mike Donovan]. We not only engage actively in our sport, but we spend just as much time photographing and documenting it. Climbing and creating art through photography is everything we believe in. 

What is it with climbing?

Climbing is just rad. It’s a way of expression. It’s a different view on life and it’s a different way of life. Climbing is a way to learn about yourself, humble yourself with and to enjoy nature at its finest. You have to respect the rock, the mountains and everything around it. Otherwise, you will be put in your place by injury or worse. There is a sense of accomplishment and growth in climbing that is 100% based on your focus and devotion to the sport, but, at the same time, it’s just really fun.

Bouldering requires many things: strength, confidence and control of your mind. All those things must be in sync to climb something at your level or greater. Climbing has always been a real way to push myself and judge growth. 

What gear do you take?

Usually I take one or two crash pads (use these while bouldering to pad the area a climber could potentially fall on), every bit of my photography bag (that list is huge), basic climbing gear, harness, a rope, some quick draws, couple pairs of shoes and my car setup for camping. All of us try to live extremely frugally while on the road or parked. We all car camp and we all live off of a fairly simple diet—usually lots of vegetables, jerky, perishable foods and anything that contains good amounts of protein. 

Are there other sport photographers out there whose work you admire?

Absolutely. Definitely a lot of inspiration from Tim Kemple, Keith Ladzinski, and Jimmy Chin. 

What are you trying to capture in your images?

It’s different for each of us. In my shots I'm trying to do three things: Tell a story about the scene, capture beautiful lighting and the "wow" you think when you see an incredible climber defying gravity at its finest.

Most epic place you've climbed?

In my opinion, nothing beats Yosemite. It’s the quintessential definition of everything nature has to offer, and the climbing is mind-blowing there—everything from small roadside boulders to 3000-foot faces of granite. Plus, all you can eat bacon at Curry Village during summer... 

So what's on the climbing bucket list?

Grampians, Australia; Rocklands, South Africa and Fontainebleau, France. Still can't believe I have not gone to those places yet... 

Favorite part of what you do?

You learn, you meet new people and you do the one thing you love. 


Photos courtesy of ISOFUN


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