The Athlete’s Perspective: Cody Townsend

No one appreciates the work of action sports photographers more than the athletes. Below, freeskier Cody Townsend – ‘the guy who skied that crack your grandma told you to watch’ – gives them some love.

“The most special thing is that they’re amazing skiers and athletes themselves. They’re having to go where the athletes are having to go but with a 50lb pack on at all times. They’re always putting themselves in really weird and interesting positions, like having to climb up little ridges to find their spot. There are few other disinclines of photography other than action sports where the photographer has to be as athletic as the athlete!


Photography has been incredibly vital to my career, from traditional media like magazines to new age digital media. Essentially people want to see beautiful images and photographers are there to service that.

The landscape is changing but photography is still as important as it’s ever been – in many ways more important because there so much photography and so many ways to see good photography that you have to shoot even better stuff to cut through the noise and get the high quality photos out there and in front of people.


There are a lot of great photographers I’ve worked with including Blake Jorgenson, who’s amazing. Jordan Manley is truly like an artist and Reuben Krabbe is this forward visionary, young and hungry to change the way people see photos..


It is important that skiing is portrayed right. I look at the Olympics when a bunch of photographers for stock companies like Getty were shooting skiing. The photos shown on the sports sections in major newspapers were just awful for a skier – terrible position, no style, no context of how big or high in the air they were, just these close up images. It just did nothing for the sport. You could tell the photographers had no idea what they were shooting as well. A skier photographer would know the sports in and out; they know the mountains they’re trying to show and the story of the skier.


There’s probably one image of me that stands out. It was shot by Blake Jorgenson. It’s incredibly powerful for me. It shows me, cameraman and a guide standing on top of a line. It’s shot looking over the top, looking down. It has a crazy feel of anticipation and emotion and gives the feeling of getting the willies right before you drop in. It’s really powerful!”

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