There and Back: Photographs from the Edge

There and Back: Photographs from the Edge

by Jimmy Chin
There and Back: Photographs from the Edge

There and Back: Photographs from the Edge

by Jimmy Chin


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The Academy Award–winning director of Free Solo and National Geographic photographer presents the first collection of his iconic adventure photography, featuring some of the greatest moments of the most accomplished climbers and outdoor athletes in the world, and including more than 200 extraordinary photographs.
“An extraordinary work of art.”—Jon Krakauer

Filmmaker, photographer, and world-class mountaineer Jimmy Chin goes where few can follow to capture stunning images in death-defying situations. There and Back draws from his breathtaking portfolio of photographs, captured over twenty years during cutting-edge expeditions on all seven continents—from skiing Mount Everest, to an unsupported traverse of Tibet's Chang Tang Plateau on foot, to first ascents in Chad’s Ennedi Desert and Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land.

Along the way, Chin shares behind-the-scenes details about how he captured such astounding images in impossible conditions, and tells the stories of the legendary adventurers and remarkable athletes he has photographed, including Alex Honnold, the star of his Academy Award–winning documentary film Free Solo; ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers; snowboarder Travis Rice; and mountaineers Conrad Anker and Yvon Chouinard. 

These larger-than-life images, coupled with stories of outsized drive and passion, of impossible goals with life or death stakes, of partnerships forged through incredible hardship, are sure to inspire wonder and awe.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984859501
Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed
Publication date: 12/07/2021
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 9,610
Product dimensions: 9.80(w) x 11.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jimmy Chin is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, National Geographic photographer, and professional mountain sports athlete. He has led or participated in cutting-edge expeditions around the world for over twenty years, including significant first ascents on all seven continents, and his photographs have graced the covers of National Geographic Magazine and the New York Times Magazine. Jimmy also co-produces and co-directs with his wife, Chai Vasarhelyi. Their film Meru won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was on the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. Their documentary Free Solo won a BAFTA, seven primetime Emmys, and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Jimmy, Chai, and their two children split their time between New York City and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Read an Excerpt


My parents used to say, “Of course we’re worried. There’s no word in Chinese for what you do.”

As the kid of Chinese immigrants, I was told there were only three careers: doctor, lawyer, or professor. Climbing bum was not on that list. When I finished college, I was sure these traditional expectations didn’t fit me, and I decided to make up my own way through the world. I would spend my twenties drifting between climbing destinations and living out of a stubborn 1989 Subaru Loyale. It was not the graduate program my mom and dad had hoped for me.

Despite their strict view of careers, my parents, both librarians, had unwittingly set me on this path by introducing me to an endless supply of books. The great adventures I read about spurred my curiosity about the world beyond my Mankato, Minnesota, backyard. Thankfully, my parents also instilled in me the work ethic and confidence to strive for a life I didn’t even know I wanted—the life I discovered on sweeping granite walls, desert towers, and knife-edge ridges.

These places stirred a sense of awe and self-reliance in me. I found the best version of myself where the world fell away below me and the rules of life were simple—commit and embrace the struggle. While climbing in Yosemite, I picked up a camera and began capturing the places that I fell in love with and the sublime moments that I experienced. Taking photographs became a way to examine these places and share these moments.

I believe photography can expand our perception of the natural world, and of what humans can achieve in it. Over time, I hoped that sharing the beauty of our planet and our place within it would foster a sense of responsibility to protect and preserve these places, both for future generations to enjoy and for their intrinsic value.

Along the way, I found a second family in the adventurers who seek out the world’s wildest places and devote their lives to accomplishing what others have never dared. The members of this tribe became my most cherished friends, partners, and mentors. I’ve been astonished, again and again, at what these individuals are capable of doing with vision and clarity of purpose, from Kit DesLauriers skiing from the summit of Everest to Alex Honnold free soloing El Capitan and beyond.

Being a witness to grand successes and epic failures, I discovered my own purpose: to share the stories of the people I found so inspiring. Every person I’ve photographed has helped shape me into who I am today. For that I will be forever grateful. This book is a record of our shared adventures spanning twenty years, and a celebration of the places that brought us together.

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