Jane Sievert. Friend, mentor, mother, sister, force. As longtime former Director of Photography at @patagonia
, Jane has had a stronger impact on the visual content and character of the outdoor industry (and thus many of the images you scroll through on this app) than just about anyone. And she’s played an instrumental role in the careers of many of the industry’s biggest names, @jimmychin @chrisburkard @mikeylikesrocks @ben_moon @coreyrichproductions @coryrichards
just to name a few off the top of my head.
I caught up with Jane this past weekend at her beautiful home, nestled against a grove of towering California redwoods, and talked about life, death, love, and what makes for great imagery.
“You know I hate to use the word ‘authentic’ these days, Austin, but that’s what it comes down to. No bullshit. If it is real it is beautiful.”
Like that of many of the photographers she’s helped and mentored over the years, Jane’s success has come not because she studied photography or creative design in a stuffy classroom somewhere, but because she was a core climber and skier first, and her keen eye developed through the daily experience of walking the walk.
“I left Wisconsin in 1980 for Evergreen [State College], and I was always getting into trouble. Spring break my freshman year a group of us drove down to Joshua Tree, and I just never went back! A while later I was waitressing in Mammoth, skiing almost every day, when Yvon and Melinda Chouinard came in and sat at one of my tables. We got to talking that night, and then they came in again the next night too. They told me about this small company they had going down in Ventura, and that if I ever wanted a job I should come check it out. I started out working in the Ventura store, and then ran events, but I was terrible at sales and even worse at public speaking! One day I got a call from Jennifer Ridgeway [original photo director] and she said ‘I’m starting a photo department and I’d like you to come work with me.’ Apparently she saw my bio in the company directory and figured my climbing and skiing experience would be useful for picking out the kind of unique and authentic photos she wanted.” Turns out, it was.