203: Stan Evans/Hidden Histories

Stan, self-portrait

How do we choose the stories we tell? Who gets to write the histories we decide sum up our collective past? And what’s the impact when equally valid versions of the past are written out of these histories?

All questions I explored with legendary snowboarding photographer Stan Evans in this fascinating conversation, recorded during my recent trip to LA. Back when I was working in the snowboard media, Stan had one of the highest profiles in the games, shooting Travis and Romain at Chad’s Gap, and helping to document the history we now take as gospel.

Then he shifted his focus away from snowboarding, embarking upon another equally successful career as a commercial photographer. He also spent a lot of time assimilating his experiences in the snowboarding community, thinking deeply about the topics of diversity and inclusion, and establishing platforms such as his Social Studies Show through which he explores this history and these topics on his own terms.

Why? Because, as we discussed during one strand of our conversation, true diversity only really happens when stories are being made ‘by’ people, rather than ‘about’ them. It’s why Stan is so careful about who he discusses these topics with, and why it took him a few years to agree to come on the show for this discussion.

This is a wide-ranging, illuminating and nourishing conversation. We covered Stan’s life and career, of course. But it’s really about how the storytelling choices we make impact people and communities. About how our little corner of the world is generally a generation or so behind the main tenor of any cultural debate. And about how threatened people can get when their own cherished orthodoxies are challenged, however gently or logically.

Yep. There’s plenty to take in with this one. Thanks for a brilliant afternoon Stan, and for sharing your insights and wisdom so generously. Listen below: