Odorifous: T.C. Worley

As part of my inner-circle camping buddies (and so much more) over the years T.C. has inspired me—not to do something I don’t already—but to never give up on our greatest shared values.

  • Do what you love.
  • Collaborate.
  • Get off your butt.

When young photographers (which is anyone with a Canon Rebel these days, right?) see the amazing work that T.C. is doing – mountaineering in the Alps, mtn. biking in the west and testing adventure gear around the world with Gear Junkie (this year alone he shot work in Chilean Patagonia, Germany, Alaska, Switzerland, not to mention from the Catskills to the Rockies…. ) they think “this is the work I’m going to do, he has the best job ever!!”

So they set up their Facebook page and wait.

What they don’t realize is that this dude was busting his butt for a decade shooting totally unglamorous jobs—baby photos & law firm portraits and product shots—all the while taking every spare chance to scramble up the nearest crag or tree.. not to mention riding his bike to work long before it was hip.

The type of pre-facebook work required to pay the bills is what’s allowed T.C. never give up on his dream jobs and is now finally breaking into his own and experiencing the amazing joy when work and soul collide.

In this way it’s really quite an advantage that guys like T.C. started their work long before social media. Because sitting-and-waiting isn’t going to get you anywhere (another lesson I’m still learning).

I am so excited and proud to see the release of his most recent project—a short documentary film on fellow hundred-ten-percenter, custom cycle builder Erik Noren.

Deep Custom premiers at 7pm this Monday (December 12, 2011) at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. Come on out to meet the filmmakers and Erik (and check out his rad custom bikes).

Tell us one of your favorite odors.

I love the smell of pine.

What is it about that particular smell?

It’s a distinct smell, and one that I associate with so many good things – walking in the woods with my dad as a child, handling lumber during projects with my dad, and smelling pine as I fly through the woods on my favorite mtn bike trails.

What experience makes you feel alive?

Lots of things. Taking physical risks and walking away from it.  Pushing my body well past my comfort zones. Riding my motorcycle in the summer.  Taking on big jobs that I am not 100% sure I can pull off, and then making it happen.  I like being happy and may not express excitement as much as some people, but I need excitement of some sort every day.  I can get excited just seeing an old man in the grocery store smile at me for no reason.  It doesn’t have to shake the earth every time.

What fears do you have?

My biggest fear is losing my family.  I have two young sons that are my world.  I’d be crushed to lose them.  My wife is critically essential to my existence as well.  It’s hard for me to imagine life without them.  Beyond that, I am not scared of much, not even dying really.

What have you learned about yourself over the past year?

I’ve learned that I am a harder worker than I thought.  I’ve also learned that I am attracted to hard working people and tend to work best when I align with someone that has passion in their work.  Even it if is just bagging my groceries, I love seeing someone totally committed to what they are doing.  It’s highly attractive.  Why does the grocery store come up so much?!

Are you working on anything cool right now?

Well, I think it’s cool.  I’m pushing hard on the motion work and always thinking of things that would be awesome to film.  I’m in the editing stages of a project on up-and-coming pro baseball players and a certain facility and guy that they all train with.  It’s a beautiful look at a staple American sport and the determination and hard work that this country is known for.  I had a complete blast working with the athletes and trainer.  It was inspiring stuff.

Do you find your creative work a spiritual experience? In what way?

I do.  Primarily in that I can see where God was priming me for a creative career in the things I did when I was younger and the people that he placed in my path.  I feel like it is a God-given talent, not really my creation at all.  My enjoying the work and being satisfied and passionate about it is a form of worship to me, honestly.  Trusting that my bills will be paid and needs met further deepens all of this too.  It is very much a trust and reward thing we have going.  We’re buds.

What tunes have you been hooked on lately?

I know they are not new or even trying something new, but I still smile every time Wolfmother comes on the radio or my shuffle. I’ve got a soft spot for really rocking music – but not hardcore.  The Black Keys can seemingly do no wrong either. Solid, solid stuff.  Bon Iver is genius.  I must have listened to “For Emma” a few hundred times and still get excited when I hear it.   I could go on…

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