For the better part of a decade, Becca Skinner spent running around the world capturing fleeting moments. In her words, the moments you otherwise walk right past. Adventures far and wide, months on end, and life happening in the in-betweens. Photography for her wasn’t only a means, but a love, and maybe her first at that.
Becca was born in Denver, but raised in Wyoming - adventure is a strong part of her roots, potentially the strongest. Her childhood memories entail visions of her family coming back from grueling ascents, from Everest to climbs at home - near and very far. She recounts members of her family having a type of spirit and lust for adventure that can only be passed down, as if it’s innate. In the first few moments of meeting Becca, you can tell that it is in fact innate. It’s her, both the adventure and the spirit. There’s a level of grit and tenacity that Becca holds, even without knowing her for the 31 years she’s been around, you can tell it’s who she is. A chilling confidence sort of floats from her, palpable from the moment you’re next to her - whether she knows it or not.
I asked her, pretty point blank, what it was like to be a female photographer. With a slight laugh and side glance, she boldly asked how much time I had. She began to say, “It’s different. Most times you feel like you’re just a checkbox on someone’s list to appease the board or audience. I had to fight for a spot, I had to be more extreme because I was competing against a traditionally male-dominated world. I think that the amount of diversity that’s happening in photography now is long overdue. You know, the job in short is a sacrifice.” She continued, “Being gone and committing to that and nothing else. I never imagined I’d be tied-down. I never thought it was an option. The loneliness is loud on the road. I actually had a male photographer tell me once that I better get used to it - the struggle, maybe even the battle of being alone.” She laughs, “he’s married now.” You could tell, just in her delivery, that both the job and the art were more of a constant struggle between the love for it all and a longing for something bigger. One she had yet to discover, until she did.
I eventually asked Becca what kept her here, in one place. She smiled, as she does often, and said, “A relationship. One I never knew I’d have or let myself have.” I asked more questions, I heard stories of the start, the moments that led to an engagement and then a marriage. The moment she knew and the moment it all changed, and to speak frankly, it sounded like it happened exactly how it was supposed to - unplanned and bold. I won’t and I can’t say that the relationship changed Becca - she’s bigger than that. I suppose I can say that it came down to loving something a bit deeper, and a bit stronger than chasing adventure. But perhaps she found her biggest adventure of all. One that challenges her in a different way and direction, allowing her to land on two feet no longer running.
Becca lives on a little less than three acres. It sits just outside of Bozeman, bordering Ted Turner’s land - the second largest landowner in the state of Montana. Her land is packed full of life. From ducks, goats, to a large food forest that sits somewhat in the middle. When you’re there, her space feels so much bigger than three acres. It doesn’t feel like a project, although I know most days it is. She’s proud of it, I could see it on her face and her body language as she was walking me around. She’s home, she’s comfortable. Becca has traded and gained a lot in the last few years - farming being the one she’s most proud of. She’s grown into it. Watching life grow around her, being witness to the harvest, and doing it all over again.
I asked Becca what the connection to her work had with the outdoors. She paused for a moment and then proceeded to say, “I think before I got into farming, it was about how I could showcase adventure on land and in the outdoors so that we could protect the places that we’re constantly exploring. That's shifted now.” She went on to share, “I was always really focused on the peaks and expeditions or things to check off the list. I feel like I'm much more drawn to the subtleness of everything now. I want to take my time and enjoy things and that feels more fulfilling to me than I think I imagined that it would. But it's perfect for this chapter of my life. It feels right.”
I hugged Becca before I got in my car to head out. Leaving, feeling like I gained more than an interview or a small synopsis of her life. I left feeling like I got to know her, even if it was a small part. That felt like an honor. She’s a simple woman but have no confusion - she is a force. One you’d be lucky to know and even luckier to have in your circle. It’s women like Becca that remind us to take a second to appreciate, not just one thing or one moment - but all of it. To chase adventure as long as you can but never be afraid to reinvent it, because she did she redefined her adventure.