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Journey into the Outdoors #5: Rob Montandon

By :Lauren Cattell 0 comments
Journey into the Outdoors #5: Rob Montandon

Journey into the Outdoors: #5 Rob Montandon

This month we chat to Rob, action sports and outdoors photographer and videographer. He's been a trusted partner of Kickback Coffee from the beginning and his work has created the foundations for conversations and stories in all our Kickback spaces. We chat about his photography and the role it plays in his own storytelling. We also discuss Rob’s ‘why’ and how being outside continues to play such a big part in his every day.

Also, check out our 5 to 9 Adventures. This short film shows some of the places our team head out to when they’re not at Kickback, and how these shared moments have a positive impact on our team. Filmed and produced by Rob Montandon (7 mins). It shows how moments shared in the outdoors are such a big part of our team at Kickback. 


So Rob, how did your relationship with Kickback Coffee first come about?

I’m not 100% sure how I first met Alex, it feels like such a long time ago now. I was living close to the Roastery and I remember passing on my bike and Alex stopping me. From that moment I was hooked, Alex spoke with such passion for not only Kickback Coffee but also the outdoors. It wasn’t long after that I started to help Alex with photos and building the website.

It's been cool to see how Kickback Coffee has grown since and I’ve loved being a part of that journey. Still now when I walk into the Roastery or any other sites and see my photos on the wall, I’m extremely proud to have captured those moments and to be to share Kickback Coffee’s narrative through my images.


What's your work/life/play balance? 

Probably a bit too much time at my desk but that is naturally part of the job. All my hobbies are outdoors, so it's either biking or climbing or hiking. That is how I first got into photography in the first place, it became a way for me to get outdoors. 

I was feeling sluggish at Uni and I was craving more creativity than my engineering degree gave me, so taking photos to give me a bit of an outlet. I was living in Sheffield at the time and had so much amazing stuff on the doorstep. That lifestyle has continued, and I try to get outdoors as much as possible for work. Weekends give me more time to head off into the woods with my mates and go for longer walks. 


What does the day to day look like in your photography world?

Quite often it’s loading up a heavy camera bag and then trying to chase much faster and fitter riders up and down the hills. Most of the time I am holding on for dear life and normally results in me sliding downhill!

It can be early starts to get out and find a good bit of light. With all that fun stuff, a lot of work does end up desk-based, editing clips and sending emails. I do like editing and like talking to people obviously but it's a lot of admin to get to get to the good bits!

When you do get to the good bits, they are amazing and I sometimes have to pinch myself that I get to call this stuff work. A great example being today – I’m here taking pictures for a Roastery Ramble but also just enjoying it like everyone else. I’d spend my Sunday on the trails anyway, so even better that it’s with friendly strangers and on different trails.


What do the next few months look like for you?

I'm quite fortunate that coming into the high summer season is a busy period for external projects with people I work with. It is also a time when I like working on my own stuff. Something I certainly share with Kickback is having a focus on community and building more of an interest in the outdoors, and being able to capture and share stories of that is an extremely powerful thing.

My ‘Reason to Ride’ video series explores other people’s ‘why’. What keeps them coming back to the bike and what spaces do they find themselves in. Being surrounded by so many influential characters who are leading the way within the sport is such a privilege - some of them making a career out of biking but not all of them, they’re all just passionate about the time they get to spend outside.


What does the word adventure mean to you?

Adventure to me is getting outside my comfort zone and finding something new. It feels good being comfortable but not for too long. It makes me a bit complacent, and life tunes a bit grey. I need that reminder to push it a bit!

Kickback Coffee and I did a piece of work together capturing their 5-9 adventures. I connected with this massively as the everyday adventures play a big part in my life. It holds me accountable for challenging that comfort zone. It might be challenging myself to go a bit faster on the bike or keeping it simple and just challenging myself to walk every day. As ridiculous as it sounds, it could be something as simple as turning right instead of left on a walk around the park. It reminds me to be observant with the places around me and not to get stuck in the monotony.

This also has an impact on my photography too. Social media gives us access to so many amazing photos and sometimes it can be hard not to compare yours to others. By reminding myself to leave my comfort zone, just play with it and be present with where I am, I will naturally see things different to others and hopefully my work reflects that too.


Follow more from Rob! 



Reason to Ride 

categories : Trail Seekers

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