An Evening with Corey Rich: Stories Behind the Images

Stories Behind the Images
Lessons from a Life in Adventure Photography
By Corey Rich
NEW September 2019

On Sunday, October 20, meet Corey Rich, an acclaimed adventure photographer and filmmaker for an entertaining evening that will include a cocktail hour, book signing, presentation, Q&A, and a raffle to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Carson Valley.

  • Genoa Town Hall, 2287 Main Street, Genoa, NV 89411
  • Doors open at 6:30PM
  • Cocktail hour and book signing 6:30-7:15PM
  • Presentation by Corey Rich 7:30PM
  • Q&A, raffle, book sales and signing 8:15-9PM

Admission is free. Please RSVP here to reserve your seat.

Energetic, thoughtful, and humorous essays by one of the most sought-after photographers in action sport reveals how iconic images of climbers, kayakers, surfers, and other adventure athletes were captured.

From his early days working out of his dorm room and shooting on film to becoming a Nikon ambassador and official photographer of the historic Dawn Wall ascent, Corey Rich has been capturing iconic shots of adventure superstars for more than two decades. Now Corey tells how he got some of his favorite images of climbers, adventurers, skiers, performance artists, and more. He shares insights into the business of photography, photography tips, outdoor lessons, and what he has learned about human nature along the way. Featured outdoor athletes include: Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold, Beth Rodden, Kelly Slater, Bear Grylls, Lynn Hill, Ashima Shiraishi, Fred Beckey, and many more.

Corey Rich’s career began in the ’90s when, as a college kid, he traveled the country in a beat-up Honda Civic, photographing rock climbers. As his skills and reputation grew along with the popularity of climbing and other action sports, Corey was there to tell the stories of some of the world’s best athletes. Corey’s work has appeared on nearly 100 magazine covers and in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic. He lives in South Lake Tahoe with his family. Follow him at,,and on Instagram @coreyrichproductions.

Excerpt from Stories Behind the Images by Corey Rich

When I was thirteen years old, I won a pull-up contest. I did thirty-five and shattered the school record. It ended up being one of the more pivotal moments of my life. It wasn’t classmate recognition that made this moment memorable, however. It was what happened next. A teacher, Bob Porter, took notice of my thirty-five pull-ups and invited me to go rock climbing with him.

“Not bad, kid. You ever climb rocks?” he asked.

The following Saturday, at 5 a.m., my father dropped my older brother Scott, and me off at the parking lot of the Quartz Hill High School in Antelope Valley, California. Bob and the math teacher, George Egbert, were already there waiting. Bob’s truck bed was packed with all kinds of shiny carabiners and coiled-up ropes.

“You be safe, guys,” my dad said. “Scott, don’t let Corey do anything stupid.

”We loaded up into our teacher’s truck. As soon as we pulled out of the lot, Bob ripped open a box of forty powdered donuts and placed them on the center console. “Help yourselves, fellas!” he said.

Moments later, he had a large coffee from 7-Eleven in one hand, and a can of Budweiser in the other, and he was steering with his knees. Given that I don’t know the statute of limitations for this sort of behavior, let’s be safe and say that the can of beer was closed, OK?

Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and danger—and no parents in sight. I instantly knew this was the life for me.

We spent the day climbing at Dome Rock, just down the road from the more famous Needles. I fell in love with climbing immediately. It was a physical, mental, and emotional experience—challenging in every meaningful way. And it was all taking place in a beautiful, wild setting unlike any I’d seen before. Most important, I was having an experience that would become a story that I could call my own.

I picked up my first camera the very next week. I simply wanted to take pictures of my weekend climbing trips with my teachers. What I quickly realized is that having a camera—just like having a pair of climbing shoes—is also a good excuse to go out there and have amazing experiences. Experiences that make for great stories and, in turn, a fulfilling and happy life.

Climbing would become a lifelong passion. Over the years, I’ve realized that what I love just as much as moving over rock is partaking in climbing’s rich culture of telling stories. Turns out, legendary stuff happens when you pursue rock climbing long enough. Being able to spin these yarns and share these stories has always been one of the things I’ve loved most.

My teachers Bob and George were climbing mentors—but they were also storytellers who mentored me in the art of entertaining and bullshitting. This was particularly the case with Bob, who never let facts get in the way of a good story. (George, being a math guy, mostly stuck to the facts.)

Corey Rich

To me, climbing and photography will forever be two passions intertwined. They are merely the weird, quirky, and sometimes adventurous vehicles that have allowed me to do what I really love most: explore the world and come home with good stories.

Stories Behind the Images is a culmination of a passion that was first instilled in me when I was thirteen years old, climbed my first real rock climbs, and picked up my first camera. What it has become is a testament to the power of adventure, creativity, and passion—and the fact that owning a camera is a pretty damn great excuse to go out there, explore the world, and start collecting stories of your own.

(This excerpt has been edited for length.)

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