Outdoor magazines such as Patagonia, Climbing Magazine, Marmot, Outside Magazine, and Backpacker Magazine vary in content and purpose, but the underlying idea behind them is the same: they are marketing the outdoors. In the case of such catalogues as Patagonia or Marmot, they are promoting a lifestyle through their clothing and gear, but Climbing, Outside, and Backpacker are doing the same thing by emphasizing the adventures of professionals. The photographs in these magazines all serve to show the reader what sort of natural beauty that they too could be experiencing. These images blur the line between marketing and art by showing people in front of a landscape which intends to elicit the emotional response of ‘look at that scenery!’ (art), ‘I could be doing that’ (marketing).
Most of these magazines also include articles (even the sales catalogues) of people’s trips and adventures. These articles can usually be described as being in the genre of creative nonfiction. That means that while the story is true, it is told in the same way as fiction so as to keep the reader’s attention. These are meant to recreate the experience in the same way as the photography by having the reader think ‘this sounds amazing!’ (entertainment) ‘I really should get out there and have adventures of my own’ (marketing). The purpose behind the marketing of the wilderness could be anything from promoting ecological conservation, to getting people out and enjoying Nature (think religious promotion – it’s good for you so you should do it).
I am exploring how our bodies and minds interact with the natural world, and how we are changed by experiencing Nature by experiencing it myself (alone and with a group of people) through a series of outings throughout the semester. The result is multiple stories and photographs about not just what happened on our adventures, but also what we learned about ourselves, and the natural world, in the hopes that with both media, the reader would be able to get a clearer picture of what people experience outdoors.