PDN: What did you like about it?
JH: Even [some] good publishers want you to
bring in a finished book, and pay for [publication]
yourself. I had done no writing, and had a lot of
photos to take, and [Mountaineers] still took it
on and gave a very good advance. I wanted very
good printing, and I had an idea of the way it
should be designed and they approved.
PDN: What were the design ideas?
Did you hire a designer?
JH: I picked Beth Middleworth, and
[Mountaineers] hired her. We worked on album
covers and book covers for decades. There’s a
mid-century classic approach that I wanted it
to take with a kind of a minimalist approach
on the typography, and she was on it.
PDN: How much of the marketing has
fallen on your shoulders?
JH: There has been no end to what I’ve
done to market the book. I hired an outside
PDN: What marketing did they do,
and what did you do yourself?
JH: They got [coverage] by the Wall Street
Journal, NPR and “Good Morning America.”
I also had a very nice run in England, and
that was something I set up myself. A friend
of mine who works at the BBC [arranged] a
ten-minute interview on TV, then BBC World
News called and asked for a radio interview.
PDN: What other coverage have you gotten?
JH: Outside magazine came via friends.
I’ve gotten speaking engagements through
friends. The paid speaking engagements are
starting to pile up.
PDN: Have you marketed it on social media?
JH: I have. People enjoyed the travelogue
I did for years on Facebook and Instagram,
[recounting] the adventures of going to
find these old climbers. So that [travelogue]
turned into talking about the book.
PDN: What advice would you give to other
photographers about publishing a book?
JH: It’s surprising how few of the younger
[photographers] I talk to look at photography
books and [study] the history of photography.
I learned so much studying the people who
came before me. [That way] you can’t delude
yourself into thinking you have something
[new to say] when maybe you don’t.
The other thing is just pure luck and
fortitude. I tried for years to get something
going on this project, and for 17 years, it
looked hopeless. Persevering does work. A L
ABOVE: Fred Beckey (1923-2017) was a prolific climber and always in a hurry. “I had shot him two times before
but I didn’t like the photos. And I got this photo of him in repose, like he was finally taking a rest,” Herrington says.
LEFT: Climber and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard (born 1938) in his blacksmith shop.