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The Pucker Factor

Stay Wild

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Okay, you know the feeling you get when you’re standing on the edge of something sketchy, and your breath catches in your lungs as you mumble, “holy… shit.” Your stomach goes into knots, as your heart races and pounds like it’s going to explode out of your chest. I can’t help but chase that elusive, but invigorating feeling. Most people would call me an “adrenaline junkie”, but I resent their need to label the holy nature of my endeavor - it is too glorious to title. I am in constant pursuit of the feelings associated with being behind the camera. When I’m photographing a BASE jump, it isn’t enough for me to stand safely away from the ledge.

No, I’m drawn to the very edge, egged on by an inward voice telling me to, “take a closer look.” It is at these moments that I experience a heady rush as I position myself to capture the optimum shot. This is of such great importance to me, that I often maneuver to the point where I am forced to rope up and climb off the edge myself, igniting the “pucker factor”- a term I coined to define those moments of such intense fear or nervousness that the adventurer’s butthole puckers up. I want to harness a shot that is capable of inviting its viewers to bask in the type of feelings I experience when I am on the ledge. A lot of people have a hard time understanding why anyone would risk putting themselves in such a dangerous situation. Taking the leap, flailing past cliffs, and wondering why the hell you don’t have a back up parachute (at least skydivers have this consolation).

My friend, Gary, claims that the draw for him is, “The aspect of being in complete control over myself. I get scared on every exit, and the fear is the same every time. The only difference is my ability to control my fear and disconnect my feet from the earth. The freedom of the fall is second to none.”

by Keito Swan keitoswan.com