Women of Adventure
I’d rather live with scars than regret
Adventure photographer Krystle Wright travels to the ends of the earth and depths of the sea to capture a unique moment. She hails from Australia and is perfectly at home in extreme landscapes and climates, as long as she has a camera in hand.
By Krystle Wright
It is through failure that some of the greater stories are told. I have my share of incredible stories; many rooted in equally epic failures. I joke to friends that if I am to go down in flames, I may as well do so in a spectacular fashion. For example, if you do an online search for “Krystle Wright, photographer,” among the top image results is a photo of my bruised and bloodied face after I collided with a boulder on a paragliding shoot in Pakistan. Whilst many would consider this unfortunate situation a deterrent, I found myself even more inclined to pursue my passion of becoming an adventure photographer. In fact, it was this accident that gave me the courage to finally leave Sydney and set out on the road worldwide to see whether I could earn the respect and establish myself as one of the leading adventure photographers in the world.
The risks and rewards of my career go deeper than any physical scars. Some people question my motivations. These same individuals seem to value things like a guaranteed return on investment, whether it be time, travel or finance. But art offers no guarantees. I’ve gone to great lengths in my career to pursue particular shots that formulate in my dreams, then morph into obsessive pursuits. Some of these adventurous gambles have delivered reward and recognition, but more often than not, they have failed. These failures have caused me pain and loneliness … ultimately challenging me yet again to recover and evolve as an artist.
I often find myself choosing curiosity over common sense as I seek out these dream images, knowing there are no guarantees in these pursuits. My latest passion project took me to the fjords of Norway, free diving with orcas. My vision was to show how tiny humans are relative to these magnificent creatures. For a project like this, it doesn’t matter how much I care or how much time or money I throw at it. I’m not entitled to the shot, and there are no guarantees. Nature is the one calling the shots. It’s always a gamble. But I’d rather take that chance than live with the regret of never having tried.
If there is any advice I can pass onto others, particularly women, it is to avoid the trap of comparison. It’s a dangerous rabbit hole to venture down, and I’ve found it can breed negativity such as self-loathing and insecurity. Close friends, in particular, have witnessed me in these struggles over the years. The freelance lifestyle, which allows incredible freedom, can also carry a lot of pressure to survive in a sporadic, unstable environment. With no stability of certain staples in life such as health insurance or financial security, this lifestyle can influence our creativity and make us submit to playing it safe and feeding the marketing machine. I never want to lose my direction as an artist. Even though many of my gambles haven’t paid off, the ones that have resulted in a great sense of freedom and satisfaction. And, in a highly competitive field, it’s also given me an edge to stand out from the crowd.
Recently, I was reminded by a friend that ‘new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings,’ and it’s a beautiful reminder that even through failure, I can still embrace these lessons and allow them to help me evolve. Because the one element we can be certain of is change.
I challenge you to pick a spot on the map, near or far, and dream about the adventures you might have there. Then make a plan and go. And if you’re wondering where the wild things go to play, have a look at this film.