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"The journey began for me as an athlete...a rags to riches story you could say, except in my case, a rags to ragged since my thing is climbing. But I'm good at's said I did some important stuff, I've gotten to see the world, experience stardom and meet a bunch of life-long friends along the way. It was meant to be. Eventually though I wasn't at the top of the pack and in need of a real job. So I picked up my camera and applied everything I'd already learned, and then a whole lot more to making pictures. My work got noticed and I jumped on the opportunity to build a portfolio and a client list that I'm extremely proud of."

Nationality: American

Born: August 29, 1965
Raised: Provo, Utah

Current Residence: Portland, Oregon

Occupation: Photographer (20+ Years)

Height: 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m)

Weight: 150 pounds (68 kg)

Began Climbing: July 28th 1985

Most Difficult Ascents:

*Redpoint: 5.14c (8c+) Ice Cream

*On-sight: 5.13b (8a)

*Bouldering: V12 (8A+)


ClientsRed Bull, Adidas, Nike, Prana, Black Diamond Equipment, Patagonia, ESPN


Favorite Camera: i-Phone

Canon 5d2, 7d & 60d. 

Favorite Lens: 24-70 2.8


Available on APPLE PODCAST


“Whoever had contact with Boone will have felt a force of a person,” says BD Athlete Sam Elias. To take it a step further, if you’re a climber, you’ve likely felt the force of Boone without having ever met him. Maybe you’ve tried one of his routes, which span across the western US like constellations, telling the story of progression for hard sport climbing in this expansive country. Or perhaps you’ve just picked up a climbing magazine at some point in the last decade and seen a photograph that has stirred a deep emotion inside your soul, caused your palms to sweat and inspired you to rope up again and again. Glancing at the byline, that ubiquitous name—Boone Speed—sits against the glossy page. The truth is that Boone, for many of us, is a living legend. From his routes and standard-raising ascents to his photos documenting this game we play in the vertical, Mr. Speed has helped sculpt what this sport is today. This film, made by Mike Call, is the story of climbing’s consummate artist.


"I would say that still fully 80% of what I shoot is for me.  I love the pho­to­graphic process, which is obvi­ously dig­i­tal nowa­days, but dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy is based com­pletely on how the pho­to­graphic process works. It’s how light inter­acts with our sur­round­ings, and you can see exam­ples of it every­where, like in shad­ows or reflec­tions. It takes years to get a good grasp of let alone mas­ter. And it’s not like you can just pick up a cam­era and you’re a pho­tog­ra­pher. I love that every­one is get­ting into pho­tog­ra­phy now…everyone’s got cam­eras on their phones and whatnot…and no doubt a lot of great pic­tures will be made by a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple. But it will also make peo­ple appre­ci­ate how intri­cate the process actu­ally is. They’ll quickly real­ize that a lucky shot here and there doesn’t mean you’re a pho­tog­ra­pher. Look at it this way, it’s like every­one owns a pen­cil and paper but few peo­ple con­sider them­selves a writer, make sense?"

Photo by Boone Speed

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In 2013, Boone Speed photographed Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda for ESPN The Magazine "The Body Issue".   Shown above.  

Photo by Boone Speed

"I started in college with black and white and fell in love with the whole process, especially in the darkroom. One of my jobs at the Foundry was processing signage. I’d use a stat camera to make crisp transparencies and then I’d slather photosensitive solution on a bronze plate and expose it in the sun, and then etch the detail with acid. I’ve always been fascinated with the photographic process and manipulating it in different ways. For years I shot cross-processed shots, or I’d shoot with Polaroida or Lomos in low light making pictures with texture, color, light. I like the picture making process — from seeing it, to capturing it, to developing it. I consider myself more of a picture maker than a typical photographer."

Photo by Boone Speed

"I’d like to have some gallery shows. I’d like to do more artistic stuff. I’d like to get into painting, more into sculpture and somehow work these processes altogether. I’d like to transfer some photographs into paint. I think if you want to be an artist, you have to stay put and do it for a while — you have to develop it. This is a work in progress. But, I’m not going to stop traveling and doing what I’m doing right now. I want to enjoy my life. "

Photo by Boone Speed

Photo by Boone Speed

Photo by Boone Speed



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