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Cole Kiburz

Cole is a Los Angeles based photographer and videographer with a knack for storytelling. He recently met up with fellow photographer, Christopher Kerksieck, for a national parks road trip sponsored by a handful of brands, including Wool&Prince.

Photography by Christopher Kerksieck @chriskerksieck

Hi Cole, give us the 30 seconds intro.

Well, I always have trouble defining what I do because I find that it is ever evolving and changing. At the core of things, I am a Los Angeles based photographer and video director who cares about aligning myself with bands that have the desire to create authentic art in whatever medium that takes. I love people, traveling and creating.

What's going on in the content creation world?

Man, so much! Right now is a very interesting time to be a freelance creative. The tools for filmmaking, making music, doing photography, etc. are more available than ever. This allowed people like myself and many of my friends who came from modest means to be able to use our wits, creativity and ingenuity to carve our own little niches. On the flip side of that, social media has allowed for a certain level of saturation and ubiquity that I don’t think we’ve necessarily seen before. Still, I often tell aspiring photographers and creatives, we mustn’t be discouraged by that. Instead, we must find inspiration and camaraderie in community. No matter how many photographers there are in the world, there will always be room for one more good one. Work hard, be kind, treat people well and great things will happen!

What are some of your campaigns or stories that you're most proud of?

I used to work for a local television show in Arizona and, while the opportunity is one I’m grateful for, I often felt stifled creatively. After a while, I took the leap of faith and went freelance. I often joke that to do so requires a certain degree of naivety because without connections or a financial nest egg, the road to creative freedom is long and treacherous, but so very worth it in the end. I have grown with many of the bands and brands I work with from the ground up so I guess I’m most proud of seeing myself grow along with clients that are much more like friends and family at this point.

I imagine people often say that you have the best job ever. What are some of the tougher parts of your job that people often overlook?

Ha! Yes I hear this a lot. The other thing I hear a lot is, “man, you’re so lucky. I wish I could just get up, go, and do all these cool things.” I often end up telling them that luck has nothing to do with it. In fact, my creative journey probably includes far more “bad luck” than “good luck” objectively (as most creative journeys do!) but the key is to learn from the hardships and pitfalls. There are certain comforts you forgo that others are accustomed to. I’ve lived off rice and beans, without healthcare, and slept on floors and couches countless times over the years. I’ve been heartbroken by unkept promises and chewed up and spit out by the industry a few times. Still, if what you do is intrinsic to your soul, you just carry on, a little stronger and a little wiser each time. I am thankful for the hard times endured because I think they have helped to shape my character and make me grateful for the successes when they do come.

You and Christopher Kerksieck did a road trip recently. Where'd you guys go?

We traveled to roughly a dozen National Parks in the Western United States.

So how does something like this come together?

Chris and I have a mutual friend who’s a brilliant photographer/ cinematographer named Ryan Neal Cordwell. A couple months before Chris and my trip, Ryan and I were en route to Alaska to deliver a hot air balloon when we stopped in Portland and met up with Chris for lunch. A few weeks after I’d returned to Los Angeles from Alaska, Chris reached out to me out of the blue and asked if I’d be interested in doing a trip with him. I was very flattered as I was a huge fan of Chris’s work and I pretty much agreed on the spot. From there, we worked out various logistics of where we’d actually be going, dates, funding, etc.

{{ get-the-look }}

What brands were involved?

This particular trip was a bit different than previous trips I’ve done because it was mainly sponsored by who is a large online seller of fine art and photography prints. They were a client of Chris’ already and they were interested in having us produce an artisan series of prints based around the trip. It was a really cool premise and they were great to work with. We also worked with the wonderful folks at Tuft & Needle and, of course, Wool&Prince!!

What'd you think of the W&P product?

I was honestly blown away by the quality! When I’m traveling like that, often times clothes can get pretty messed up over the course of the trip. I wore W&P on long hikes through mountains and rivers and I also wore it to a fancy cocktail party in San Francisco. The looks are classic and can be paired with jeans or dressed up with a jacket. The shirts didn't seem to get stained, wrinkly or dirty which is damn near a miracle! Also, the socks are so comfy, I’m actually wearing them right now as I type this from the comfort of my bedroom.

Cole is 6’2”,160lbs, and wears size M.


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