For anyone that looks to the sky when they hear a plane, they would have definitely wondered what the pilot was up to when it appeared as if they were flying sideways. The summer after Bo Bridges graduated from Miami University of Ohio, flying sideways is exactly what he was doing; along with shooting photos! You know what everyone is used to: point, click, shoot. Throw someone in both flying planes and taking photos and you get: fly, crab (flying sideways), point & fly, click & fly, shoot & fly, fly (which involves recovering the plane), and then do it again. Bo never mentioned this, but I bet that the passengers, if any, were frantically looking for a parachute!
Within the first five months of the aerial photography gig, Bo had a good thing flowing. He brought in another pilot (made things safer), took the door off of the plane, and built a clientele seeking his adventure in aerial photography. But, it was just not good enough.
Ready, set, go! Destination? Vail Colorado.
My experience with Bo thus far has lasted about 30 minutes over the phone and a couple of emails. He carries an open and vibrant spirit around him. You want to talk to this guy. So of course he fit in at Vail. The first job was a blessing in disguise. He instantly began working in the one and only photo lab in the area. He turned into a sponge, learned from others mistakes and most importantly, what was working. After a short stint, Bo finally went out on his own. He started shooting events, catalogs, dinner parties, anything that would pay. He then jumped into action ski and snowboard shots. Wham! This was it! Bo went full-bore!
Before he knew it, Bo was traveling 200+ days of the year worldwide. The whole free-skiing movement had begun. He closely followed the new twin tip skis, hitting the terrain park and half-pipe. One thing that enthusiasts don’t recognize is that he is also an avalanche analyst. He was dropping in first with 30 to 40 pounds of additional gear on his back. And if Bo was safe, then the skier is safe. He would then sit on the mountain and prepare for the epic shot.
Fast forward. Extreme sports is growing rampant. Mountain Dew needs to fill this market. Bo’s portfolio fits to perfection. Carey Hart throws the first back-flip on a dirt bike. Bo is the only one that captures this, and there were 50+ photographers in attendance. Bo continues to grow. Vans Triple Crown, X-Games, Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, all the way to his 3,000 square foot gallery in Hermosa Beach……Phew.
There are two stories in Bo’s life that I know of that are just about the same, but happen at different times. He hesitates on his dreams. Before he graduated from high school, he stepped into a photography class. Here, he found the art that he loved, and enjoyed every second of it. After graduation, he began a marketing degree at Miami University. He thought that this would work, a mix of art and business. But deep down he knew that this wasn’t for him. Within the first semester, Bo had ventured over to the photography department. From there, he was able to connect gracefully with ease. He was accepted into the program without submitting a portfolio, which is almost unheard of.
The second story is after college graduation, Bo goes home to Tampa and immediately puts himself to work. Sounds great, but he had taken the first position that he could find. He was a banquet server at the Hyatt with a college degree. Not even remotely what he was destined for. As you know, it did not take him to long to change course and take a chance. Remember the plane flying sideways? He had created a piece of artwork that hit home, literally, with his neighbors. A stunning aerial photo of the lake that they all lived around.
It is continuous leaps of faith, changing majors, stunt flights and knocks on neighbors door that brought Bo to Los Angeles. He has never looked back. Would you like to fly sideways?