Micayla Gatto’s Book of Wildhood — Utah

Editor’s note: Last fall Micayla Gatto packed up her mountain bikes and went on a monthlong road trip from her home in British Columbia through California, Arizona, and Utah. We hope you enjoy this first installment of her American road trip.

Growing up I would get so excited to go to my aunt’s house. She always had her film camera out at every family gathering and would carefully curate and compile precious memories into volumes of photo books, complete with hand-written captions, ticket stubs, dried flowers, and whatever other bits and bobs were around that day. Before the time of the internet and Instagram, these annuals brought us together, laughing at images being seen for the first time, remembering emotional events and awkward stages of our lives. With social media making photography and memories so disposable, I wanted to bring back some of the nostalgia and value to the memories we make while on the road.

Another big reason why I’ve decided to create these photo books is because of my own memory, or lack thereof. After hitting my head in 2014, I had a long and tough road of recovery. Memory blanks, forgetting faces, names, and events was incredibly frustrating and scary for me. Not being able to recollect events that had happened, or forgetting who someone was completely, wasn’t a way I wanted to live the rest of my life. So I started taking pictures. The pictures are enough to jog my memory, and the photo books bring me right back to those amazing moments I have experienced. Although my memory has recovered immensely since the crash, I still struggle, and these books help keep my memories close.

Instead of creating a traditional photo story with images and body copy, I concluded that to engage viewers and embody the whole experience of the trips, I would take the route of old skate zines and incorporate my drawings, handwritten text, and skate/surf culture vibe to make the books more of an experience, and less a documentation of events.

These books are meant to be enjoyed around a coffee table, on the toilet, on a bus, in bed, at breakfast, or on top of a mountain. Whether it’s on a tablet, computer, or printed copy, I hope they bring you joy and curiosity, and motivate you to explore new places, ride your bike, enjoy Mother Nature, get creative, leave judgment behind, and step out of your comfort zone.

– Micayla Gatto

Micayla rode the Release 5C and Release 29:3 on her trip. Check out the Release family.