Drew Smith – Arc’teryx Squamish Exposed Photographer Profile

Summer rays, cool granite, the pervasive Squamish breeze All hallmarks of the Arc’teryx Climbing Academy. A highlight from last year was the brand new Squamish Exposed Photo Competition. 6 Professional Photographers, 6 Arc’teryx Athletes and 6 members of the public go head to head in a 3 day competition for the best slideshow. We thought we’d get the inside scoop from Drew Smith, one of the photographers invited to participate this year.

Ski glacier camp hit by snow storm
Drew on assignment in Sylarna, Sweden for Klattermusen.

Today when we texted you, you responded: “Let’s do it I’ll be off this mountain at 3:30!”  Where are you at and what are you doing?

I was climbing on Slhanay (The Squaw) a route called The Great Game here in Squamish. I just arrived yesterday from Salt Lake City and I’m so amped to be here, it was a long drive in my old van.

“October of 2016 is when I stopped working other jobs and fully committed to photography. It was definitely scary..”

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You shot for the Arc’Teryx Academy last year, and this year you’re one of their featured photographers for the Exposed Competition, you’re now a contributing photographer for a company we will not name, what have these last few years been like for your career?

Last year was my first time here, I helped shoot the Academy and was working on some other filming projects while in Squamish, I loved the area and scene. This year I was super excited when Arc’Teryx asked me to be a part of the Exposed Competition, some really talented Photographers are involved in the event. I’m a bit intimidated because I don’t know the area that well, but it will be fun.

I feel really good where I’m at with my career and every year it just seems to get better. October of 2016 is when I stopped working other jobs and fully committed to photography. It was definitely scary but I thought if I wanted photography to be my profession I actually had to treat it like any other job I’ve had and do it full time. Its a hustle but I love what I do and feel very lucky I’m able to make it work. Living in my van on the road full time keeps me inspired and is easier to stay creative when visiting new areas and meeting new people all of the time.

Cochamo climbing area first ascent high up
Robbie Phillips climbing on the La Junta project in Cochamo Valley, Chile this winter.

Last year some of the competition photographers put a ton of work into planning their shoots, others just winged it.  What’s your approach?

I tend to take more of an unplanned planned approach with most things in life. I’m in Squamish now allowing me a week before the competition starts, looking at climbs and the light getting ideas for what would be good to shoot. A big part of the competition will be who I’m parred up with to shoot so I don’t want to get to wrapped up in a specific plan.

Over the three day comp, how much sleep do you plan on getting?

I probably wont sleep to much haha, the days are so long and I’m going to have to catch the good light. After the comp I’m also shooting the Academy events as well, then the day after the event ends I fly to Denver for the OR show.

Climber in Squamish Smoke Bluffs
Robbie Brown on the Zombie Roof, Squamish

The slideshow evening is free at 7pm Saturday July 21st at O’siem Pavillion Park, right in downtown Squamish.  However, the July 19 – 22 weekend of events has many other free events as well.  Best yet if you’re in Vancouver, no more excuses!  Outside of each Arc’teryx store will be a shuttle bus taking people to Squamish and back.

We’ll see you there!


Arc'teryx Vancouver to Squamish Shuttle Bus Schedule