Chris McCandless New Book - Back to The WIld
DVD and Book
“Back to the Wild”
The Christopher Johnson McCandless Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Eighteen years ago our son, Christopher Johnson McCandless, left this world in a remote wilderness location in Alaska in the shadow of Denali. His farewell message gave thanks to the Lord for his happy life and asked for God’s blessing to reach each of us.
Since then, we have witnessed a steadily growing, international interest in Chris’ story guided by Jon Krakauer’s book (1996) and Sean Penn’s film (2007) both bearing the title “Into The Wild.” Funds from these two projects enabled us to create the Christopher Johnson McCandless Memorial Foundation dedicated to making a difference by providing a hand-up to needy mothers with small children. Something Chris would do if he could, as evidenced by his own charitable acts.
As part of this process, the Foundation protected the photographs and writings he created during his epic journey with copyrights. The copyright process was difficult for us to bear because we had to closely review and identify each of the hundreds of photographs Chris took during his two-year odyssey, as well as, his logs, letters, postcards, etc. During this process, the realization of the unique value of this remarkable visual and written record and the fact Chris was the author, ignited the spark which led to his story being told through his own medium.
“Back to the Wild” tells this story through Chris' original photographs and writings until his journey came to an end in Alaska. As it turned out, however, it was only the physical aspect of his journey that ended. Although we could not have imagined it during the grief-stricken weeks and months that followed Chris' death, in the ensuing years his story has reached beyond life and past death to touch millions of readers.
Walt and Billie McCandless; Chris’ parents, August 2010
The open road was his canvas, the camera was his brush, and life’s breathe was his driving force.
We can only speculate why a young man, right after graduating from college, would set out on the open road. Why did he choose to sever communication with his family and all of his friends? For what purpose did he record his journey with photographic evidence supported by his logs, letters, postcards, and the well-known biographical belt he so carefully hand-crafted? What is recognized is this story has reached beyond life, through death and stirs deep seeded emotions within each of us.
Experiencing life to its fullest was the adventure worth living and Christopher Johnson McCandless set out to live his life with that thought foremost in his mind. He chose to take the road less traveled, which altered the lives of those he came into contact with, as well as, those who have read or seen his story through “Into the Wild.” “Back to the Wild” takes us once again on this journey through Chris’ original photographs and writings until his tragic death in Alaska.
This was a young man on a course with his own destiny who unknowingly would change the destiny of others long after his passing. Through this young man, hope lives on.
Gloria J. Davis; Editor, August 2010
In the world of digital photography, photographs are often manipulated or retouched to give the viewer a heightened sense of reality, creating a final image that in fact, is not real at all. Photographs from two or three different days or even years can be seamlessly stitched without raising a suspicious eyebrow from the viewer. The images on the cover and inside of this book are Christopher Johnson McCandless’ photographs as he saw his world during his two-year journey. None of Chris’ images were manipulated or retouched for this book. During his journey, Chris used 35mm film for all of his images. For reasons only known to Chris, he did not snap multiple images of the same scene as most amateurs would in hopes “one of them would be the perfect shot.” In contrast, Chris photographed a particular subject/landscape only once leaving the viewer with a one-of-a-kind image as seen through Chris’ eyes.
Take notice of the image on the back cover. Other than the farewell message being superimposed for artistic purposes, the image is actually one image with two different scenes and not a manipulation of Chris’ images by the contributors of this book. In fact, probably thinking he had an unexposed roll of film; Chris reloaded an already exposed roll and began shooting. Without knowing, Chris was in fact taking a picture over another picture creating a classic double exposure and giving the viewer more to contemplate and question.
Joseph Moss; Photographer and Owner of Joseph Moss Photography; Virginia Beach, Virginia, August 2010
A Note From Jon Krakauer
Christopher Johnson McCandless died alone in the Alaskan backcountry on August 18, 1992. He was 24 years old. When his body was eventually found and evacuated, state troopers recovered five rolls of exposed film and 113 cryptic diary entries Chris had inscribed in the back of a book about edible plants. But the troopers inadvertently left behind a backpack in which the wallet holding his driver’s license had been hidden, so his identity was at first a mystery. Even after that puzzle was solved, however, a greater puzzle remained: Where had Chris been and what had he done since dropping off the radar in the summer of 1990? Whom had he met? What was he thinking and feeling? Many details of his peregrinations will never be known, but it turned out that Chris had stashed a photo album in South Dakota before heading north on his final adventure, and after careful study the pictures yielded a wealth of crucial information. The most interesting and informative of these photos—along with Chris’ Alaska photos, his Alaska journal, and an assortment of personal possessions and correspondence that came to light—are displayed in the pages that follow. This is the raw material that enabled me to write ”Into the Wild.” Although I’ve examined these artifacts on countless occasions, I continue to discover new things from them even now, nearly two decades after Chris’s passing. I still feel a surge of emotions every time I gaze upon his enigmatic photographs and hand-written words. Other people, I suspect, may find themselves similarly moved upon opening this book.
Jon Krakauer; August 2010
This book is for sale on the official website www.backtothewildbook.org.