Unfiltered Podcast: Ft. Photographer & Filmmaker @shortstache

Instasize: What's up Garrett.

Garrett King: Hi.

IS: How are you doing today?

GK: Good.

IS: Good. Have you been having fun here in Africa?

GK: It's been fun. Yeah. I had no expectations coming out here. I did a little. You want to be stoked and be able to get all these incredible shots of animals, but it becomes very real once you get here that there might not be that possibility. Kind of like how we came in here in the first sunset. That was kind of... That was a bit of a

IS: Was a little skeptical?

GK: Bit of a blow to the morale there. Yeah. But it makes sense because of where we are at. It just didn't... It looks nothing like where we are now.

Garrett King @shortstache

IS: It's so cool. And where are we right now, by the way?

GK: So I think we are right directly in the middle of Serengeti National Park, I think.

IS: That's so cool. Yeah, that sounds right.

GK: Yeah.

IS: Sounds about right. And did you go on any cool safaris, did you see anything cool?

GK: I did. This morning, we set out and trekked for sunrise and didn't really get much at sunrise. So we improvised and got portraits and things like that. But then once the sun was up for a bit, we found the coolest, I think prize of today was the leopard and the cub.

IS: Cool.

Garrett King @shortstache

Photo by @shortstache

GK: Which, I thought it was literally the coolest part for me. I know that's such a rarity and to have one, but then you have both the cub and the mom and then the triple threat would be to have time to actually capture it, which we did. It wasn't like two minutes and that was it, and then they ran away. We were there probably for half an hour, which was absolutely incredible and I feel like everyone was just so jazzed.

IS: It was so cool.

GK: That was like, I don't know... I like to call it my pit and peach of the day. And I always ask my buddies that and my parents, and you ask, "What was your pit and your peach?" And I think the pit was, really not one at all, which is always the best case scenario. Our pit was, we did find a male lion but we didn't find it in the most photographic way, but we did see it. And then I think my peach was definitely the leopard.

IS: That's really, really cool.

GK: So I love that. And it's always great when your pit is really a peach.

IS: Yeah. In the end you saw a male lion, that's awesome.

GK: So there no pits out here. It's been awesome. The weather has been really good. It was kind of hot but it's way cooler than I thought it would be out here, which is nice. I thought we were going to be sweating nonstop like I was in Guatemala.

Garrett King @shortstache

Photo by @shortstache

IS: It was good. The sweat hasn't completely taken over. So tell me, I mean Lion King comes out, I think the day we come home or the day after. So if you were a Lion King character, which one would you be and why would you be that character?

GK: Sure. I feel like the cliche answer for me would have to be Simba just because I feel like sometimes, even with a pack of buddies or friends, I feel like I'm always the one to make the tough decisions and make the tough calls or just try to be brave even if it's not in the cards. I feel like I always have to be the one to enforce and step up to the plate and take the hit if it happens and I don't know. Yeah, I feel like I would be Simba. I have a lot of goofiness too, so maybe a few other characters.

IS: No, Simba's awesome.

GK: Yeah, I think he has a lot of growth, too and that's something I'm going through currently and I think everyone is always, but especially right now, I think the last like two or three years of my life has just been so just so much growth.

IS: And what do you mean when you say growth?

GK: I think from... Growth for me is something that comes from mistakes. It comes from success. It comes from just getting older and learning different things, new ways to think, new ways to do things. I mean, just evolving in my mindset and kind of in my character and learning there's just better ways to be a better person and there's easier ways to help others and just, I don't know... I feel like just... it's just so much self-growth as well as a creative growth. And I feel like if you don't grow in your own heart and mind, then you can't grow anywhere else.

IS: Yeah, I love that.

Garrett King @shortstache

Photo by @shortstache

GK: It's been big for me, just making a big decision to move down to LA and California and that's completely out of my wheelhouse and comfort zone. And I wanted to do that because the best are down there and I feel like to be the best you got to be with the best and compete against the best. Yeah, it was really big decision for me and it's been amazing ever since. It's led me to so many opportunities. I've grown so much as a creative and as a person. I've learned a lot of stuff I love, don't love anymore. Really interested in new things and water has been new for me, like shooting in the water and swimming, diving, all that stuff's been really new and completely out of my character. So it's been cool.

IS: How cool.

GK: Yeah.

IS: That's awesome. So you're known for your amazing photos. Obviously you're an incredible photographer, amazing person. So but what... The person behind the camera is what I'm curious about. What makes you tick or makes @shortstash tick?

GK: I know I touched on this earlier and just the ways that I think about random thoughts as they come up and when they happen and it's always these deep conversations that come up and I feel like bringing acquaintances to best friends and friendships into family and things like that. And I think deep, deep, deep down inside of me what makes me tick, it has nothing to do with who I am as a creative or who I am as this outside perspective, but it's what makes me, me is my vulnerability and being able to accept when I'm uncomfortable. It's that willingness to accept the challenge or to put myself out there and to assist. It's really just my willingness to be scared and to accept being scared and that it's okay to be scared and have your talents questioned, have your skills questioned, have your direction questioned. It's those things that make you feel alive that I feel like make me tick and make me want to improve, get better.

I think just really evolve in any way that I can. So would be my thought process behind just how am I being vulnerable? How am I putting myself in vulnerable situations? Am I growing, am I changing it for the better? Am I learning from my mistakes? Things like that. So it's not really this physical thing, it's just this being I think inside of me that... Because I've asked myself a lot, some people have so many specific answers and I always thought I just, I didn't really have one. You know? And a lot of people I think turn to religion or things like that and saying, "God is what makes me tick." And that is very true. But it's like, what's under the surface of that too? Because even that can be scary and faith is scary and it's not easy. And those are the things that all, I think, come from that is just being vulnerable. So, yeah.

Garrett King @shortstache

Photo by @shortstache

IS: How do you feel like you're... that vulnerability transfers into the way that you live and the way that you work, how does that vulnerability, I guess, play a role in your life?

GK: Sure. I think that that being said, and living in that kind of fragile space for me is so huge because it allows me to push myself. And I think it just always keeps me at a humble, level playing field because there's just... This is the way I was raised, and there's so many people who are so good at what they do, and they're always challenging and they're always pushing the limits and things like that. And so for me to keep that mentality and to know that it truly is... it's not lonely at the top because so many people are at the top and there's always a top above you. The ceiling is always rising. And it's important to know that you're always in the mix. You're always in the race that it's never over.

And so for me, I think is just the most important part is just staying in that vulnerability. And I think it's reflected in my work because I'm not scared to try new things, photograph new things, get creative, be different, push the envelope, add design elements, bring my past into my present. I think that it's... And I think it reflects me as a person knowing that I'm not... I try not to... No matter someone's past, you don't look down on anyone. And my dad taught me to treat the janitor like the CEO, and the CEO like the janitor because no one is better than each other. And that's same thing through the creative field through anything. And I just feel like keeping that mentality has helped me go a lot of places because having a level head and knowing that you're equal to everyone is so good to stay hungry and stay confident and stay faithful in yourself and just know that there's ways to push, there's always ways to improve. Yeah, I think it's just that scarcity inside of myself that helps me push.

IS: That's really, really cool. And that's amazing to hear that from a creator, because I feel like that's something some might try to hide the vulnerabilities by what they create. But I feel like you use that to propel what you do and how you live. It's not even just about what you take photos of or how you photograph, it's more about the person you are. So it's really, really cool. So that said, what is your five year plan I guess. What is next for Garrett?

Garrett King @shortstache

Photo by @shortstache

GK: I get asked this a lot. I'm not sure, because as long as I'm happy and fulfilled, that is literally what my life has come down to is fulfillment. And if that's making coffee for people and loving on people every day, then that's what I want to do in five years. And if I can make a living that way, that's what I want to do in five years. If it's build an empire for a creative agency and have other photographers, designers, filmmakers and everything come together and make something epic and change the world, then that's what I want to do in five years. Maybe it's a little bit of both. Maybe I'm part time barista, part-time empire maker, but I don't know. Yeah.

I think it's definitely God's plan and not mine and it's been really fun kind of relying on His plan and not mine, because I never thought I'd be in Africa with you guys, or meeting new people across the world. I have gone to so many journeys and adventures that I never, ever thought were gonna happen to me coming from a small town in Texas. Yeah, I think that reason specifically and changing career paths at a younger age and having that past and all those things., This day and age you can do anything in any given moment. And so I feel like it's that unknown and excitement that gives me kind of this unknown answer, because I'm not sure. And that also excites me because anything's possible. Yeah, I could be directing in five years, I could be running a coffee shop. I don't know.

IS: That's so cool, yeah. There's just... The options are endless for you, which I think is really, really cool. And you can... I don't know, just having been on this trip with you and seeing you interact, we were just talking, he's so cool because he doesn't... You don't put yourself above others. And I think that you treat everyone the same, like you were saying, you treat the janitor like the CEO, CEO like the janitor. And I think that's really cool. And so have you, I don't know... How have you implemented that into your life and how? How do you do that? Do you just try to be nice to everyone or is it just something that's just comes naturally to you?

Garrett King @shortstache

Photo by @shortstache

GK: I think a lot of that is just the way I was raised and my parents and the humility of growing up on the other side of town of a lot of my best friends who grew up in very wealthy, rich homes and did... I was so blessed with the way I was raised, though. I never asked for anything, never went without anything. I love my parents, but I think I just saw a lot of things growing up, some rougher neighborhoods and stuff like that around that you just... My dad just would always help anyone at any given time. And he knew that if he helped them out, it was like if they use it for the good, then it's a blessing. If they don't, it's a curse type deal. He would give somebody the jacket off his back and say, "Man, they needed it way more than I do and I can go buy another one."

And it was that humility and those acts of service that I saw him do growing up that just really hit home to my heart and my mind that has carried with me from day one. And I think that I was lucky enough to just play basketball with not-so fortunate kids and on one side of town and then play on the other side of town where it's an all-white team and everyone's very wealthy and set. It's having both balances to know the good and the bad. And I think that... Yeah, I think it's just the way I was raised. I'm so thankful for that because it's... Everything could always be so much worse and yes, everything can be better and grow. But you got to be thankful and count your blessings, because I just know that there's so many other people going through stuff they just have no idea about.

And that's another big thing for me and I've learned the hard way. I've judged people by what I think they would be or what they are online and someone you thought could just be the worst, ends up being an absolute best buddy of yours because you didn't know what they went through or that they didn't have parents or that they raised themselves and stuff like that. And it just really kicks you in the humility bone to know that. Man, I'm so quick to judge and I think that's what really, really... those experiences and those mistakes growing up I think just really level you out and keep you kind of at that level playing field, knowing yeah, everyone's human. I was given very blessed opportunities and I was able to capitalize on them and work hard and put my name out there and make something of myself and everyone can do that. So I did. It doesn't make me better than anyone. I just was given those options and I took that advantage. I just hope that I can do that for other people.

IS: That's really, really cool.

Garrett King @shortstache

GK: Because I've always had that mentality if one makes it, we all make it.

IS: I love that. Well, hey, thank you so much for taking the time today to talk to us. Is there anything else you want to say, anything to your followers or any advice you'd give to people about life?

GK: I think the one piece that I always try to take with me is if you're going to do something, you do it because you absolutely love it and you believe in it and it believes in you and it's in you. And if you're going to talk about it, be about it. And if you're going to put your best foot forward, just do it all cards in, all hand is in, because I feel like too many people are half and half, one foot in the pool, one foot out and they're so scared to jump and you got to jump. You got to jump. For me, I pulled the rug out from underneath me and had no choice and I left a design job and it's sink or swim. I just feel like so many people are scared and it's okay to be scared.

IS: Yeah.

GK: Everybody gets scared. It's up to you to kind of harness that. But I just feel like take risks, you're never going to get anywhere if you don't take risks. And I think that's my biggest piece of advice that goes across the whole board is take risks. That separates you from those that won't.

IS: Wow. And I think that's what's made you stand out as a creator. So keep up the good work. Awesome.

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