By Justine Nelson
Ben Bishop, now an outdoor action sports filmmaker and photographer whose work appears on ROXY, ESPN, Red Bull Media House and National Geographic, reflected on how Sierra Nevada College prepared him to be successful in the professional World.
“Life has been all over the place since graduation, lots of projects with many different people and companies all over the globe. I feel very thankful for all of them”. He explained that the most valuable thing he learned at SNC was to engage and reach out for mentoring and advice to overcome obstacles. As a veteran world traveler who frequently clocks six months straight of travel and work in places like China, Japan, Canada, Colorado, Utah, he says, “I don’t think I would be anywhere if it weren’t for SNC”.
Ben says SNC guided him to identify a path he is truly passionate about through the unique academic experience of tailoring his major to his specific skills and interests. “I had to bring all these skill sets together in a multidisciplinary way…and that is what my career is now. It was valuable being able to be at a small school that had the ability to adapt and say, ‘I’m really interested in the outdoor realm; I’d like a degree in it, and then have my advisors help formulate a program.”
In 2014, Ben has just returned from a trip to the Arrigetch peaks in the Gates of the Arctic on a trip for National Geographic. He first joined the expedition as an aid to carry equipment for the camera crew, but when he was handed a camera he jumped in to help shoot the rock climbing documentary. Afterwards, he and a friend rafted the Atlanta River in pack rafts for a total of 140 miles in 7 days. “With a lot of time to reflect, I am very thankful for the knowledge I obtained from SNC so I could head off on adventures like the Arctic on my own.”
Aside from filming, Ben also loves to shoot still photography on his travels. He says, “It is a medium that I have always loved but have never considered as a career”. He is hired occasionally to help people with their photographic needs, and a few of his images have been published, but he says having a secondary film camera allows him to personally document his trips. On the Atlanta River trip when he visited the small Native Village of Allakaket he said, “I was completely taken by what I was experiencing; it’s remote, there’s no running water or roads that lead to or from the village and I wanted to show people what I saw there. Instead of filming, which is very specific and sometimes can take a lot of time to tell the smallest of stories, I chose to shoot photos instead. To me, photography in this situation spoke much more, and that is why I have chosen to consistently carry an additional camera around. In the near future, I intend to release a photo book of my personal work from many of my trips.”
Justine Nelson is studying Art & Psychology. She is interested in the power of thought and intention.