An Honest Shot
Patagonia in the ‘70s through the lens of photographer Gary Regester.
Photos and captions by Gary Regester
In 1974, Gary Regester, then a student at ArtCenter College of Design in Los Angeles, became a fly on the wall at Chouinard Equipment to complete a class assignment. Over the course of a week, he shot this and that and became friends with the earliest employees, returning in future years to capture their progress. Gary and his new friends also unwittingly helped Patagonia arrive at a more journalistic approach to commercial photography—although it took some blunders with “clothes worn falsely with smiling models”—to realize the collaboration had created more of what we needed. It was an approach our founder, Yvon Chouinard, calls “an honest shot: Real people doing real things.”
As we celebrate our 50th year, we’ve been asking ourselves, what are we taking with us, and what are we leaving behind? For the Patagonia photo team, the answer’s clear: We’re keeping our photography principles. The next 50 years aren’t a reframe, but rather a renewed commitment to cultivating an informal guild of visual artists from a wide range of backgrounds and experience—those with an eye for the authentic and what our first art director and photo editor, Jennifer Ridgeway, called a “right attitude of mind, the right spirit.” Future Gary Regesters, you might say. “We like photography that has magic,” Jennifer wrote. “This is hard to articulate, some images have a spirit beyond their composite parts.”
—Heidi Volpe, Patagonia’s director of photography