Andrew Waits is a Seattle-based freelance photographer and a graduate of Seattle Central Creative Academy. His work explores parts of America that aren’t often seen, the results bely a full process of building relationships and trust. He was recently involved in a photography project, part time capsule and part memorial. In 1986 three climbers on Mt Baker were overcome with an avalanche. Two were killed. Steve Raschick, one of the victims, backpack was recently unearthed and sent to Waits to record that moment in time. We asked him a few questions about his work on the shoot.
Tell us about your involvement in this story:
I approached this shoot knowing very little about the story other than vague details that piqued my interest. After a day or so with the bag and testing a few different directions, I learned that the bag actually belonged to one of the hikers that passed away. This added a level of gravity to the project for me. I felt that the inclusion of the smashed bible and the small vial of cologne made it seem much more personal. I settled on a style that really highlighted each individual item. I’ve been really into simplicity lately; single strobe with the object on blackout fabric and plenty of fill cards.
I ended up spending a lot of time with the bag at my home studio. Testing out different configurations of the objects. I even drove up to the pass and photographed it in the mountain snow. I definitely want to thank Seattle Met and writer Allison Williams for asking me to be a part of this story.
For more on this story look at Wired magazine’s recent profile of his work A Lost Climber’s Pack Emerges 30 Years After an Avalanche and Seattle Met’s coverage Unburied: The Secrets of a Deadly Mount Baker Avalanche.
Waits well-received extensive series Boondocks, featured on NPR, explores the life of people who live mobile.
Check out more of Wait’s work at andrewwaits.com.