On the hunt for inspiration

Colby alumnus and Portland, Ore. native Foster Huntington ’10, had a short lived career in the New York City fashion industry. After about a year and a half of working for Ralph Lauren, Huntington realized that the corporate world was not for him. He wanted to be outdoors, traveling, and taking photos. In July of 2011, Huntington quit his job in New York and bought a van using the money HarperCollins had given him to make a book out of his blog, The Burning House. The Burning House is a collection of personal posts that answer the question, if your house was on fire what would you take? While The New York Times praised his work as “Fascinating… provocative,” Huntington set out to travel the country in his van, camping, hiking, and surfing, for the next three years. “It was everything I wanted it to be and more,” he told The New York Times. 

Huntington’s Instagram features his adventures, including artful shots of outdoor living and clips of his movie projects.

Huntington managed to make a living thanks to his artistic documentation of his travels. His Instagram, @fosterhunting, which now has one million followers, became a creative outlet for photographs and videos of his adventures. His photographs capture the beauty and simplicity of living on the road, and with the inauguration of the #vanlife, Huntington went viral. In 2014, Huntington published, Home is Where You Park It, a compilation of his photographs. On Oct 10 of this year Huntington came out with his fourth book, Van Life: Your Home on the Road, which is not just a compilation of his own photographs, but of the photographs and stories of other nomads like himself. Van Life: Your Home on the Road showcases the tranquility and freedom of life on the road through photographs of vehicles parked amid various wilderness settings. 

After three years of travel, Huntington decided to set up a home base in Washington near the Columbia River Gorge. “I could’ve bought a house,” Huntington told The New York Times. But instead he built a treehouse, which he calls the Cinder Cone. His complex consists of two tree houses, one he calls the Octagon, where he sleeps, and one he calls the Studio, where he works on various projects. The two tree houses are connected by a bridge and the complex, nestled in the sky, appears to be magically afloat. The property also boasts a of a skate bowl and a hot tub, which Huntington also built with the help of his friends. He created a short film and is currently working on a book, both illustrating the process of the Cinder Cone’s creation. 

Seven months ago, Huntington and friends began shooting their first stop motion film at their studio, Movie Mountain. In an Instagram post, Huntington writes, “The idea for Movie Mountain is to make stuff for the places that people actually watch things these days and take chances with these new mediums aesthetically, technically and structurally in ways that Hollywood and streaming services are not doing.” Released this fall, Pool Scum is a series of three episodes set in California in the 1980’s. The scene is a hot California day. Three characters, two with skateboards, gather on the concrete surrounding an empty pool covered in graffiti. Beyond the pool deck are mountains and trees. The character without a skateboard spins an empty beer bottle, which comes to a stop pointing at the man with long, frizzy black hair, rendering him up first in a skateboarding battle. The attention paid to sound, music, and visual detail throughout the series is undeniable. “For each shot, a puppet is attached to a metal armature and moved around set, every subtle movement is animated by hand and then photographed by a DSLR on a computer controlled arm and then compiled on Aftereffects,” Huntington writes in an Instagram post explaining the films’ production. 

Huntington’s artistic and creative abilities seem to have no limit. He’s a photographer. He’s a writer. He’s a filmmaker. His popularity has spread across all forms of social media platforms and he has made a successful career out of doing what he loves and having fun with it. Whether it be the travel blog, A Restless Transplant, which he started in 2008 while he was still a student at Colby, Vimeo, Tumblr, Facebook, or Instagram, Huntington’s documentation of his life and his creations is spectacular, inspiring, and inventive. And it’s only just beginning. 

The Echo reached out to Huntington and hopes to interview him for more information on his latest adventures.