An Interview with Rob Frost
If you’ve ever found yourself casually flipping through a nature, adventure or climbing magazine of great repute at a bookstore or airport, and suddenly feel enraptured by that one strikingly beautiful image on that page that you just can’t look away from, the chances are pretty good that it is an image taken by film-maker/producer Rob Frost.
There are film-makers and then there are film-makers. Rob’s images and shoots have a certain aura, a mystique, a certain captivating quality to them. It almost feels like nature herself invites him to see her in the most pure, pristine and beautiful ways.
As for his injury, he is doing exceedingly well, and health updates diligently posted on social media sites help friends and fans keep up with his recovery.
But today, we’re choosing to write about what Rob loves best…bringing nature to life for us, and telling a unique story through his singularly enchanting film-making and photography. Even though we may be thousands of miles away from that location, Rob finds a way to help transport us to that moment, that fleeting second in time that will never return.
Creating photographic and filming art takes a rare vision, patience, an above average appreciation of nature, an innate understanding of people, timing and a total devotion to the art. Rob combines all these qualities and infuses his art with them.
Check out the superb quality of his work here: http://www.robfrostmedia.com/
Let’s have a little chat with this talented, Emmy-nominated film-maker, producer, photographer, storyteller and adventurer.
Editor: Thank you for sparing some moments of your time with us, Rob. We greatly appreciate it.
You’re based in Colorado. Where were you born?
What was it like growing up there?
Rob Frost: I grew up in New England. My folks were and still are avid skiers -- they had my two sisters and me on skis or in hiking boots at very young ages. It all took place in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, which I will always regard as home. I still get excited when I drive into Mount Washington Valley for a visit with family and friends. It strikes something deep and the younger me gets jolted with a rush of memories from the early days.
As kids we were either freezing our way down the icy winter slopes of Wildcat Mountain or getting chased by mosquitoes throughout the Presidential Range during our summer breaks. At first I didn’t like it too much, but it didn’t take long for me to catch the adventure bug. Those earliest days have had a huge impact on the direction my life has taken. I remember being 5 years old and trying to keep up with a rat pack of older kids and parents during an overnight hiking trip. My pack was way over-sized, I got blisters on both feet, and was covered in mosquito bites. Not much has changed.
Editor: How old were you when you got your first camera?
What kind of camera was it?
Do you recall the very first thing you photographed?
Rob Frost: I don’t have a specific memory of the first thing I photographed but I was in my late twenties when I bought my first camera – the Sony VX1000. I put the camera, a computer and some editing software on a credit card and proceeded to film some of my NH climbing buddies (Mark Synnott, Kevin Mahoney, Jimmy Surette, and more) fighting their way up North Conway’s granite cliffs.
With the encouragement and help of my good friends Jack Tracy and Jimmy Surette, I made my first film Uncommon Ground which was about climbing in the Northeast. I remember Barry Blanchard telling me that I should enter it into the Banff Mountain Film Festival, so I did, and was fired up when it was accepted. I had the desire to combine my love of climbing with a nagging need to be creative on some level. Getting that camera was the wisest gamble I’ve ever taken. One thing leads to another and that led to a lot.
Editor: An accomplished climber yourself, your images of nature and athletes are truly beautiful.
What was it like working with Jimmy and Alex (particularly in such a gorgeous but demanding location?)
Rob Frost: Getting to work with Jimmy and Alex is always an amazing experience. They are both very driven and focused individuals but more importantly they are very calm and collected about how they approach stressful situations. In particular, the Squarespace shoot was pretty stressful. It was fun as hell but the fact that Alex was free soloing a difficult climb in Yosemite, Heaven, and we had to pull off a commercial that was slated to air during the World Series…that made it feel big.
I got to film with Jimmy’s good friend and cinematographer Dirk Collins who was the director of photography. I also got to work with filming wizard Shawn Corrigan. Jimmy directed the shoot and brought together the right mix of personalities and skill sets to execute his vision, and having Alex as the subject always leads to some crazy footage. We all recognized that this was one of those rare and special gigs, brought our absolute best, and left that week on a legitimate high. Those ingredients always make for the best days behind a camera.
Click on the link below to check out the incredibly beautiful Squarespace shoot:
Editor: Who are your favorite and most inspiring photographers/film-makers?
Rob Frost: I’m inspired by all photographers and film-makers who have to suffer a bit to get great images: Mikey Schaefer, Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk, Freddie Wilkinson, Ben Ditto to name a few. I did a job in Kashmir a few years ago and got to work with a Swiss photographer by the name of Stefan Schlumpf. His photography stands out for me.
I’ve learned a lot about storytelling from Pete Mortimer and Nick Rosen at Sender Films. Certain producers like Greg Heister, Jeff Newton, and Gabrielle Schonder have helped push me along. Anyone who has believed in me, given me opportunities, showed me something new, etc…they are my favorites.
Editor: What are your all-time favorite Hollywood movies or documentaries?
Rob Frost: My favorite documentaries: When We were Kings, Heart of Darkness
My favorite Hollywood movies: Catch Me If You Can, No Country for Old Men, Wedding Crashers
Editor: Great selection! So, what is it about photographing nature and people that you find most compelling, Rob?
Rob Frost: I don’t know to be honest. I think that’s why I am still doing it – every experience I’ve had has led me down new and exciting paths that I would’ve never imagined possible when I started out with this career. The people I get to meet, the places I get to go, and the experiences I’ve had all add up into what has become a massive and crazy ride. It doesn’t seem real most of the time. I am compelled by the unpredictability and the randomness. It’s not boring.
Last October, I shattered my heel into over 30 pieces and I have had a lot of time to ponder why I do what I do, what draws me to it, and where I want things to go. I just want more of what I already have, and that’s finally starting to happen again. I’m on a plane right now with my buddy Jacob Bain and we’re heading to Gambia to film an incredible musician by the name of Sona Jobarteh. I am fired up. It’s going to be a blast.
Editor: Your trip to Nepal, (one of many destinations: Thailand, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Gambia, Mongolia, the Himalaya) must have been incredibly moving: you got the chance to tell us the story of the Seven Summit Sisters of Nepal when you did a shoot for ESPN.
How did you feel about working on that?
Rob Frost: Getting the chance to go to Nepal for ESPN on an assignment with writer Alyssa Roenick was incredible. That was a highlight trip for me. We had the assignment of heading over to Nepal for two weeks to capture an inspirational story about 7 Nepali women of various backgrounds and ages who were chasing down their collective goal of climbing the tallest mountain on each of the 7 continents.
We visited some of their childhood villages, met their parents, siblings, cousins, and then flew to Lukla and trekked into the Everest region as they spoke with the kids at the Sir Edmund Hilary School in Khumjung. Their story is an incredible one and worth checking out because they did what almost everyone thought they wouldn't, couldn't or shouldn't. What I will remember most is how much they laughed - at everything. They started laughing at me within the first day.
That's when I knew this was going to be a fun story:
Editor: With so many fans of your work, there are the young ones out there who view your work and wonder how they can follow in your footsteps.
What helpful and simple tips can you share with them about photography?
Rob Frost: That’s a tough question. I would be lying if I said it’s been easy. I’ve never had a clear vision of what my life would look like. I still don’t. I’ve just followed my interests. I don’t feel like I have “arrived” because I haven’t. It’s not the most settled path to take but it’s a great path.
A big thing for me has been stringing together a series of unintentional mentors -- certain individuals who have something going on with their careers that I want. That has provided a lot of direction. So, my advice would be to get around those types of people. One way or another. And buy a crappy camera.
Editor: Before any climb, ski expedition or outdoor work, how do you like to center yourself emotionally, hone in on your inner core and focus, and really get in tune with the location’s natural, spiritual energy?
Rob Frost: It’s the climbs and the jobs that center me…or sometimes de-center me depending on the climb or the job. :-)
Editor: Thank you for spending some time with us, Rob.
We hope to interview you again in the future and gain some more words of wisdom from you.
Rob Frost: Thanks a ton, Vera!
Rob Frost's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RobFrostMedia?fref=ts
On the Cover:
Filmmakers - The Storytellers of our World
Cover Date: 24th June, 2015.