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Resident Spotlight: River Jordan

Baxter Culture

As a brand born from our founder Baxter Finley’s independent spirit, we’re inspired by individuals who venture beyond the ordinary, pursue their passions, and live their lives true.

One such individual is River Jordan, an LA-based photographer we invited to showcase some pieces from his ongoing Salt & Sea project at our Baxter In Residence series—a bi-monthly collaboration and gathering of friends that celebrates artists and brands who are living life true.

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River Jordan, befitting of his name, is a man who is most at home in the water. Quite literally—the 20-something spent his adolescent years living on a boat.

Just after his 12th birthday, River’s parents moved the family onto their sailboat full time, in hopes of exploring the world. They headed south and cruised throughout the Caribbean and Central America and spent three years at sea. While most kids are in middle school, River and his siblings had a different sort of routine during these formative years, which he describes fondly. “Wake up, swab the decks, do our school work, and then go explore. I bought a dugout canoe in Panama and made some sails for it. That was my instant passport to freedom. In the afternoons my siblings and I would pile in and go spearfishing, surf, explore a new beach, or hang with the local kids. We were constantly on the move so whatever each day brought we tackled with enthusiasm.”

Nowadays, River finds that enthusiasm and spirit of adventure through his pursuits as an art and commercial photographer. He studied photography at Art Center College of Design, which “felt like a pretty natural progression” as the third generation in his family to attend art school (both of his parents went to the San Francisco Art Institute and his grandfather was a fellow Art Center-alum). As an athlete whose self-professed great passion in life is traveling, River Jordan shoots what he knows, and his experiences of living on the water guide who and what he trains his lens on, and inspires the stories he finds to tell. Whether that’s a surf competition in Malibu or divers in Central and South America, River always has a plan while shooting. I’m not always looking for a specific photograph but I am looking to convey a specific feeling…The most challenging thing in photography is to strip away the unnecessary and simplify.”

For his personal work, he likes to organize trips and shoots with groups of “like minded people”—fellow thrill-seekers and adventurers that he knows or have been recommended by others taking part. The group dynamic is crucial on these trips. “I ask myself questions like ‘will this guy come away smiling if we get all our clothes stolen, he cuts his head open, and gets food poisoning all on the same trip? Will he not complain and come away laughing?’” River quips. “If the answer is undoubtedly yes, he’s a candidate.”

River Jordan’s work is on view and for sale now at Baxter Finley Barber & Shop

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