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Earlier this month I attended the 40th annual Banff Mountain film festival at an intimate theater on the coast of Southern France. While listening to the excited young college students banter among the rows of soft seats, in a language I can understand bits and pieces of, I beheld a spectacular photograph. Soren Rickard’s “Les Drus” stretched before me on a movie theater screen… I was captivated and overwhelmed with excitement. Truly, it felt as if I was standing among these foreboding and rugged peaks myself. I had never seen this image before and it definitely deserved to be front and center.

Les Drus, Chamonix, France © Soren Rickards

Les Drus, Chamonix, France © Soren Rickards

Since I am myself a photographer, I felt compelled to look up the artist (thank you to Banff for giving credit visibly). I found Soren, his portfolio which was great, and his bio… which said that he was currently based in Chamonix, France. Woot Woot! I also learned that he was in his early twenties and charging down photography. Since I was going to be in Chamonix later that month, I sent him and email to see if he would like to meet up.

Rickards is a young, professional photographer based in Chamonix, France. At 20 years old, he is now photographing some of the most extreme sports and beautiful landscapes around the planet. Rickards grew up in a small London suburb town in the UK and at 17 felt he needed to expand his horizons. “Something just wasn’t right. I wasn’t supposed to be there.” Describing the transition to the next stage of his life and career, Rickards says, “Upon arriving in a small French village, not far from Chamonix, I quickly fell in love with the mountains and photography. I lived in a van for two years while doing odd jobs here and there to keep me fed and allowing me to keep working on my new passion.” He adds, “The photography quickly grew on me and quickly became a big part of me. I’m not qualified in anything else, so I have never dared to look back, this is what I want to do.” About his new passion, Rickards says, “I try to show emotion in my photographs, moments of turbulent weather mixed with awe inspiring action, something magical, dreamlike or even fictional. I feel like I am living in a dream and I want to show that emotion in my photographs – and I like to photograph other people living their dreams.” – Excerpt from Banff Mountain Film

Manifested! We met up at the boisterous “Elevation 1904” coffee bar in the heart of the world famous mountaineering community of Chamonix. Together we soaked up the mountain sunshine while chatting about the lifestyle, opportunities and challenges of being independent traveling artists. Believe it or not, I only personally know a couple other people who are independent artists succeeding in the international community. It’s really fun to connect with others and share news, insight and inspiration.

Alex Pullen and Soren Rickards- Chamonix France

Alex Pullen and Soren Rickards- Chamonix France

Within the artistic community especially, I feel we all succeed or we all fail in the end. Needless to say, Soren and I were both very excited to meet, and I had the feeling like there may be some interesting opportunities to collaborate in our future.

Enjoy Soren’s photo and if you want to explore more of his excellent action photos visit: http://www.sorenrickards.com/Action

Thanks and stay tuned for more,


Alex Pullen is a traveling photographer currently based in the Southern Alps of France. Click here to view more articles by Alex. Or visit him alexpullen.com