Meet photographer and author Daniel Fox at The Elizabeth Hotel on November 8 from 4 to 6 pm. Fox will sign his new book Feel the Wild, an intimate collection of short stories and photos, as told through Daniel’s heart focused lens.
“The book is a compilation of 10 years of expeditions. It’s not just the photo book. Every expedition that I do always has insight or a lesson where I’m by myself, and I go, ahh, I get it,” Daniel says. “The work that I do, Feel the Wild, is really about the connection with the world. And the other side of it is about our own connection with ourselves.”
Fox spent his early twenties and thirties living in New York City, working in the corporate world, doing tons of jobs. He got to a point where he wanted to live with more purpose. Daniel evaluated his life, realized there was nothing he wanted to keep, and got back to his roots. Daniel went on a sojourn to Patagonia, and his life transformed.
One theme of Daniel’s stories is, “to reconnect with our place on this planet. Understanding that we’re a product of nature and nature is above us. It’s this big life force, and we have a role to play. We have a relationship to have with it, and we have to honor it,” Daniel says. “I want to shift the narrative, empower the human species while reclaiming her place in the natural world, Using nature so we can become better.”
Fox’s quintessence is about the human journey and using nature as a framework for personal transformation. “I started to write and photograph with purpose while looking up at nature and understanding our place in it,” says Daniel. “Listening and acknowledging the dynamics, the values, and the principles, found when you look to nature and have the desire to learn from it.”
“I grew up moving a lot in my life. By the age of 12, I had moved already ten times or so. I spent a lot of my young years having to reconstruct a sense of stability, making new friends, and losing friends as fast as they came. Still, everywhere we moved, it was always a forest; it was always a river shore, always a place in nature that allowed me to create my certain sense of my stability,” Fox says. “Every time I needed to make some sense of life, I would go back to nature.”
Daniel has nature as his refuge and his place to reset. Daniel donates 10% of all revenue from book sales, tours and income to his non-profit Wilderness Immersion for Leadership and Discoveries (W.I.L.D.) Increasing the exposure and opportunities for youth to get in nature and experience it uniquely. For a child, the world can be a place of discovery, imagination, and creativity. The innocence of youth comes out, and you can see the breakdown of cultural beliefs when you don’t have all these prejudices, these judgments, and these categories.
Working with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), W.I.L.D. will allow underprivileged teens to attend wilderness immersion camps and develop leadership skills in an outdoor setting. The program has a year-long mentorship for the kids to dive deeper, learning more skills and lessons to become a true leader, and immerse themselves in nature as a practice. Each month has a new theme and a new assignment, and the kids in the program work diligently to complete them. Also, they have to do one drawing per theme because Daniel believes something magical happens when the pen connects to paper.
Daniel asks people if they are a mountain person, a desert person, or an ocean person. He is an ocean person, so most of the work he does is solo and on the ocean, or the water. Fox travels a lot by a kayak. He loads his gear, a wilderness system 17.5 feet long, and carries two weeks’ worth of food his Fijifilm camera gear, and, usually, several people split this load, but he brings it solo. Daniel says it fits into four Ikea bags, which Fox finds indestructible. Daniel leaves much opportunity to gather supplies in the land he is traveling. Part of Daniel’s journey is meshing with the people and their ways of life.
“Part of my process on those expeditions is to leave a lot of unknowns, so I’m invited to connect with people when I arrive,” Fox says. “I can go into these places and capture the spirit to capture the energy of these vacation without first going intending to receive.”
Read Feel the Wild, written to provoke thought and deepen the perspective of our relationship with nature, by Daniel Fox.