After leaving his role as terrain park director at Park City Mountain Resort in 2009, Jim Mangan embarked on a soul-searching, bare-it-all snowboard quest -- literally. Shot in the backcountry of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains, Mangan photographed willing snowboarders, clad in nothing more than wool blankets and Sorel boots, as they carved down stark powder fields on vintage boards. What resulted from Mangan's voyage was "Winter's Children," a collection of fine art nude photography, and a tribute to the organic friendships that spawn from the love of snowboarding. We caught up with Mangan to discuss the upcoming release of the book and how it helped him reclaim his snowboarding mojo.
Jim Mangan: The real intention of this book was to come full circle as to why I began snowboarding. As I was exiting the snowboard industry, I was pretty much over it. I wanted to do something creative that expressed how snowboarding inspired me. I've never snowboarded naked, but in working on this project, I was reminded of why I started riding in the first place. It had nothing to do with the business side or being sponsored.
This book mocks the commercial side of snowboarding and how it's portrayed outside the core industry. But there's an underlying metaphor to this book, too. I hope people learn how to lose themselves in the moment and learn how to be free in snowboarding ... or whatever else they have lost sight of.
How did you convince your friends to strip down and participate in your project?
I got some friends together -- Justin Parkhurst and Drew Amers [of FUNhat] -- who had strong connections to riders in Utah. I had them convince some snowboarders to come to my house in Park City where I explained what the project was about. I called up Laura Hadar, too. I told them I wanted to take them up to Idaho to snowboard naked. They all had this look of shock on their faces, but Laura stood up and said, "F--- yeah, I'd love to do this!" She was the catalyst. Once she stood up, everyone wanted to get involved.
Snowboarding naked must have created some instant friendships.
Not everybody knew each other, but ... once we went out and participated in this, everyone was so exhilarated. It was every cliché feeling of pure freedom. It was so liberating. I asked a close friend from New York, Peter Sutherland, an accomplished photog, to be a part of it. He's such a free spirited guy and an exhibitionist. I felt that he could set the tone, and he did. He was the first one to fully go unclothed. He started doing his thing and everyone followed his lead.
What's the significance behind the Native American blankets?
The Native American blankets were just a part of everything: the colors, the texture, the patterns. Each pattern represents something spiritual in that culture, and this whole project was reflective of that. It's not about emulating any type of Native American lifestyle, but it's symbolic to something that's spiritual and free. I wanted this project to represent the ultimate form of freedom ... It was a stark contrast to the landscape.
What was Peter Line's involvement?
Peter Line wrote an introduction for the book. Line saw [my photos] in Vice, and I called him and asked if he was into it. He was down. He's my favorite snowboarder of all time, and he's very creative. He's done incredible things in snowboarding and has pushed the sport in such a positive way, so he was the perfect person in the snowboard world to write an introduction for this. He knew where I was coming from. The intro doesn't say anything about the photos or the book. It just mocks that funny, commercial side of snowboarding. It's lighthearted. It's Peter's humor.
"Winter's Children" will hit the market in early January 2011. Click here to preorder the book online. A short motion film and photo exhibit will accompany the book launch premier at Milk Gallery in New York City in early January 2011.