About Me

I am a photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Last fall I wrote about a project called Pimp My Wall, where a group of friends, in the spirit of an HGTV Extreme Makeover type show, built a surprise climbing wall for Greg Kottkamp, a climber and med student sweating it out in Augusta, Georgia. 

Here is the video from that project, which I showed at the Dirty South Climbing Film Festival in Atlanta last week. Enjoy!

Pimp My Wall from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.

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Ian Harding:

Pretty awesome video, and idea. I've been climbing a lot myself lately and am constantly trying to think about how I can incorporate it into my home. Also, love your photographic work. I'm hoping to attempt some climbing photography later this season. Keep it come'n!

(05.20.10 @ 10:22 AM)

Great clip!

I need a bunch of friends like you! :-)

(07.05.10 @ 11:52 AM)

Sweet video and really cool wall!

(07.05.10 @ 12:09 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Pimp My Wall: The Video . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://theblindmonkey.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/54
For the fourth installment of The Beta for the Triple Crown Bouldering Series, we hit up Colorado transplant Andy Wellman to run laps for us at the Stone Fort. We shot Andy on two classic problems, the well-traveled Super Mario (V4) and the lesser known Mystery Groove (V4).  I had actually never seen Mystery Groove and it is a sweet little piece of heaven.

Andy, who now lives in Chattanooga, is working with Adam Henry on a much-anticipated guide to Horse Pens 40.

The Beta - Super Mario from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.

Shot this one on the Sony PMW-EX1 and the Nikon D5000. There is also a bit of Horse Pens 40 footage that Josh Fowler shot from the Heart of Stone documentary. Enjoy!

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I love these beta videos. I hope you expand this concept to other classics around the country.

(11.10.09 @ 08:52 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: The Beta: Super Mario . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://theblindmonkey.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/34
It all started six months ago, post-pump at Fellini's Pizza with the usual climbing crew. We got to thinking about our old buddy Greg Kottkamp. 

One of the most talented and understated rock climbers the South has seen, Greg was in medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta. The closest climbable surface from there is one of the Atlanta gyms, 2.5 hours away. In the last few months Greg was making that insane day trip just to session with his friends for an evening study break, but now things had changed.

Word was that Greg's wife Katy, also a great climber, was doing her veterinary externship in Wisconsin, and Greg was dug in deep, diligently studying o-chem solo in his Augusta lair, with no time to flip through the latest Rock & Ice Magazine, much less get his climbing fix. 

Now, Greg's a dedicated guy, and puts just as much focus on the books as on a sick redpoint, but everyone needs a break sometime. So after a couple Sweetwater 420s, we hatched a brilliant plan. Greg needed a climbing wall. A pimp wall, fit for a climber who can onsight 5.13 trad FAs off-the-couch, but also one that would integrate into his new lifestyle as a monkish med school gunner. And - the best part - it would be a total surprise.

Katy provided us with some pics of Greg's home office and the rough dimensions. 

Greg's Lair in Augusta, pre-Pimped. photo by Katy Kottkamp

We knew we wouldn't have much time to install the wall once we got there, so we fabricated as much of the wall as possible, knowing we would have to be flexible with how it would attach to the structure of the room. 

Chris Sierzant, owner of the Escalade Climbing Gym was our point man for the wall. Chris assembled the wood panels, which make up the climbing surface, pre-drilled and T-nutted to accept interchangable climbing holds. Kenneth McGinnis, an electrical contractor and veteran climber, also helped with the design, and would do the actual install, as well as any rewiring we would need since we would have to relocate some electrical outlets and lighting. 

We chose climbing holds from Illinois-based So Ill. These guys make some of the best holds out there for training, and have some outrageous designs, including lots of anatomically-themed shapes that would be perfect for keeping Greg's mind on his studies, and body on the wall. Cooper Roberts of Big Up Productions donated some new films, and we would reconfigure the office complete with a Sony iPhone Deck to keep the psyche up. Josh Fowler was set to film the whole thing.

As the word got around, tons of people chipped in to help out. In the end, the biggest challenge was figuring out how to get Greg out of the house on a day when our crew could spend a day in Augusta for the install. Six months later, it all came together!

Below, The Crew: Clockwise from upper left: Danny Paulete, industrial sculptor and hardman, champion climber Kate McGinnis, her husband and longtime Southern strongman Kenneth, your's truly, climbing rep and idea machine Charlie Maddox, and her lesser half, Josh Fowler - a Nat Geo cameraman who can do pinchgrip pullups on a two-by-four.


We met early on a Sunday with a rental truck full of climbing goodness, with Greg safely out of town with the dogs. Greg and Katy were due back that evening, so we relied on Katy to stay in text-message contact with us during the install. Left to right: Josh, Charlie, Danny, Kenneth, Kate.


We got to Greg's house around noon, and got right to work. Moved all the furniture out and cleaned the space. Danny started crawling around in the ceiling looking for structural beams. The big question was, should we make it free-standing or could we attach it to the structure? Luckily, the room was perfect for the latter, and Kenneth and Danny were able to design an elegant, bombproof design with the panels Chris had prepped that would give us an 8' x 11' wall that overhung slightly more than 45 degrees - a perfect home training wall - and still leave space for the stereo and shelving on either side. 


Early that afternoon it poured rain, so we had to continue construction inside. Meanwhile Charlie and Kate planned the post-wall layout of the new office, and we made a couple trips to the local hardware store, for a new fan, lights, a curtain to keep chalk dust contained, and other odds and ends.


Wall up, we were way ahead of schedule, with time to think about the details that would make life more bearable inside four walls (make that five now): pimp iphone deck, shelving behind the wall, new lighting, new outlets, new fan, efficient re-org...


We hit Waffle House while we waited for the increasingly shortened text messages from Katy: eta 2 hours... 1 hour... half hour... Would Greg confront Katy about all this secret texting and blow the suprise? Would the dogs come in before them and tear us apart? Would there be any beer left? Stay tuned for the video to see the conclusion to Pimp My Wall...
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Todd Combs:

That's bad ass. I'm sure Greg will appreciate the stress relief.

(09.02.09 @ 04:46 PM)
Steve Bowman:

very impressive - both vision and stills
just bought a D300s and playing / we do mainly Transportation / Aviation/ Ships / Big trucks/ Trains
You should have a very ready market with a MAJOR library
worth exploring - miles of rubbish being supplied very few winners
I do have a long and good relationship with Corbis for what it is worth !!!

(10.12.09 @ 02:04 AM)

Thanks Steve - I've had a long and great relationship with Aurora Photos, which also distributes through Corbis and Getty worldwide.

(10.12.09 @ 02:18 AM)

Good job guys! Are you expensive? I have friends who may hire you :-)

(02.18.10 @ 07:46 AM)

Constantin- Thanks - probably not the most cost-effective thing to hire us to build a woody. But if you wanted to hire us to do another episode (episode 1 coming soon on video) let us know!

(02.19.10 @ 10:05 AM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Pimp My Wall! . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://theblindmonkey.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/26
My work was recently discovered by Scott Anderson's Folio Hunt site, featuring biographies and portfolio of the world's best photographers. 


It's a beautiful and elegant concept for a blog/website, since it guarantees traffic to the site to have a wide variety of photographers and interviews on one site (which is not just trying to sell you photos, but just acting as a showcase), and of course it is great exposure for the photographers he profiles.

It helps that he has a great eye.

You can follow @Scottanderson on Twitter to see more awesome work of photographers from around the world.

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Folio Hunt is great. Absolutely.
Very clean.
And oh, so are your photographs.


(08.02.09 @ 12:41 AM)

Awesome Andrew!! Scott's such a good guy.

(08.13.09 @ 01:38 PM)
scott anderson:

Thanks for the kind words Andrew. As you know, I'm a big fan of your work, and am thrilled and honored to showcase your work on FOLIO Hunt! I'll continue to be following along...

(08.20.09 @ 02:05 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Work Featured on Folio Hunt . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://theblindmonkey.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/22

Josh Fowler and I opened our documentary Heart of Stone with a chance encounter in Steele, Alabama.

Southeastern Climbers Coalition activist Brad McLeod walked a cliffline with a local landowner and a realtor, talked some turkey, and shook hands at the base of the access trail. The ball was rolling on access to a climbing that had been shut down since the early 80s, when, as the story goes, one too many climbers traipsed through another landowners tomato farm at the top.

In the few months since then, McLeod and the SCC sealed the deal on 25 acres of land, including 1400 linear feet of sandstone cliffs, an access trail, and even a trailer house at the base. Like all SCC purchases, this land will be multi-use, open to all, and preserved for future generations.

To really follow through, of course, the SCC needs to raise the money to pay off the note. That's where Chaco Sandals and Rock/Creek Outfitters come in. A long-time supporter of greenspace initiatives, Chaco is teaming up with Rock/Creek (SNEWS and Backpacker Magazine's 2009 Online Retailer of the Year) to raise $5000 toward the purchase, by donating a portion of ALL sandal sales for a period of time through Rock/Creek.

Go here to learn more.

Josh and I were tapped to create a promo for this partnership. You can see it in HD below:

Chaco and Rock/Creek - Summer of Steele from Andrew Kornylak on Vimeo.

Much more cliffline (some say the best) is still privately-owned at Steele, but this plot gives the climbing community a foothold in the region, and a strong position from which to negotiate with other landowners for access. We're neighbors now. Good neighbors. So don't screw it up!

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Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Summer of Steele . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://theblindmonkey.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/11