Joel Fraser is a one of a kind character that resides in Seattle, WA. He is currently the principal photographer for Capita Snowboards. For those of you who haven’t met the northwest lensmen, he can be described as someone who has nonstop energy and comedy firing out of his mouth. Having been with Capita since the early days, Joel’s work captured the lives of legendary snowboarders such as Tyler Lepore and TJ Schneider. Now that some of these riders have moved on, Fraser spends his time capturing some of today’s stars and upcoming talent. Capita has done an amazing job building such an awesome team, and you better believe that Joel will be there every step of the way, documenting and stacking insane shots.
– Mike Yoshida
Name: Joel G. Fraser
Age: Grown ass man
Home Mountain: Current: Stevens Pass. True home mtn: Cypress Bowl, Vancouver BC
Hometown: Pile o' Bones, Saskatchewan, Canada
Gear: Canon 1Dx, Canon 5dmk-iii, 15mm, 50mm, 24-70mm,70-200mm, Voigtlander Bessa rangefinder, Epson Rd-1s digi rangefinder, Perfekt swing lens pano, LOMO LC-A; LC-W; Elinchrom Ranger, Elinchrom Ranger Quadra, Canon speedlites; F-Stop bags (alternates depending on trip/setup, etc – Satori, Loka, Guru, Literoom roller, Miller Smoky/bandon/Brooklyn)
Explain to us what a "Clacker" is?
A clacker is one who clacks! Or anything used for clacking.
Where did you grow up, and how did you end up residing in Seattle?
Grew up on the Canadian flatlands, moved to BC (Vancouver) in 1992. Spent time in the Kootenays, Whistler, and Squamish, moving to Vancouver here and there in between. I moved to Seattle in 2007.
How did you get introduced to snowboarding, and likewise, photography?
I got interested in photography at a young age. Ma Fraser gave me a camera when I was about 10. I started skateboarding around then, and of course shredding came soon after. It would be safe to say that my stoke for photography grew through and was inspired by skate images and early shred photography.
How long have you been involved with C3/Capita, and what is your day to day job like working for the brand?
I started shooting stuff for CAPiTA from the early days, so around 13-14 yrs. These days, my day-to-day includes manning the social media outlets as well. This I can do from home or the road, although I keep a desk at C3 and spend time in the office here and there, depending on the season. During the winter, I am on the road ninety percent of the time.
Do you recall the first time you went out to shoot a handrail?
Wow! Hmmm, I think it was a rail in North Vancouver, with Lepore, during a rare Vancouver snowfall. Maybe 2001?
Who is Dykeboy?
Dykeboy is a mythical creature in human form. She is the type of person who will simultaneously laugh at, and assist you with a quick emergency bag when you are vomiting in the back of a moving vehicle. Someone you can trust with both a camera and serrated hunting knife. A rare woman, who's like a sister to me. That which has been seen cannot be unseen. Or smelt.
Do you recall the first time you went out to shoot in the backcountry?
My first "real" backcountry shooting occurred in the Kootenays in the late 90's. Maybe Brannon Rooney or Shandy Campos? Definitely owe a lot of what I know about the backcountry to the Kootenays, and the fine humans out there.
Which of these items has been most valuable to you as a photographer: flash kit, snowmobile, or passport?
List five things you always bring with you to shoot in the backcountry and or streets.
Not including camera or avy gear, which are obvious necessities? Coffee. Extra layers. Food/snacks. Water. Cellular device.
Who are your favorite riders to shoot with?
I guess I'm lucky, and a fence sitter – I truly love shooting with everyone on CAPiTA. We have (both now and in the past) a family of solid humans, all of whom I have great times both shooting and traveling with. Can't call anyone in particular out. I had many good trips with both Lepore and TJ, who have moved on to post-shred endeavors.
Which spot has been most pivotal to your career:
That's hard to say, I feel like no one spot (or few spots) have been pivotal in my career. As a photographer, we need the riders most – so maybe it's been the people at the spots that have shaped my career, more than the spots themselves.
What is the most influential trick, image, or session you recall shooting?
Maybe Jason Brown's last published shred photo? Or one of many head scratching Scott Stevens sessions?
Who shreds the hardest over at C3?
Bruce Bannister! And we've got a few ex-pros, ya know…
Other than snowboard photography, what other photography gets you psyched?
All sorts: skate, photojournalism/documentary, nature photography…
You've shot with the best of the best, that being said, who are some of the new talent that you are stoked on snapping photo of these days?
Since we're working on a new CAPiTA film this season, I guess I'm pretty hyped to get out with some of our ams a bit more, dudes I normally don't see as often, JOC, Alex Sherman, Spenny, Rav, Gamache.
What is your take on the digital revolution, and how quick it is to learn how to shoot almost anything?
I guess like all forms of technology, it's both good and bad. Learning is faster and easier, but do you lose a bit of "soul"…? Maybe. I'm not sure in the end. Maybe you learn a bit more humility when you learn on film, as the consequences cost you money via film and development. I suppose it makes everyone a better photographer by default.
Do you have an opinion on instagram or "iPhonography" in general?
I dig it, it's nice to keep up with friends elsewhere in the world. In general? I like that everyone has a phone in their pocket, but it doesn't necessarily make everyone a "photographer".
Do you feel like photography has taken a backseat to video these days?
Nah, the two have always gone hand in hand.
If you had never picked up a camera, what would you see yourself doing?
Yikes! I have no idea, I chucked all my eggs in one basket! Maybe richer? But not as happy, with less "life experience", and fewer stamps on my passport…?
What would be some good advice to any of the younger up and coming photogs out there reading this…
Be a good human!