What first hooked you about marketing and created your love for photography?
What I love about marketing and branding is that you have the opportunity to evoke emotion and inspire others. If you do it well, you can create a community of like-minded individuals that is about more than the product you offer. You can encourage people to live healthier lifestyles, remind people of the importance of family and friends, or even help people enjoy the simple pleasures in life on a smaller scale. The creative spirit is a powerful thing and branding provides an opportunity to reach a captive audience with a message of positivity.
Similarly, I have a love for photography for many of the same reasons. Everybody sees the world through their own lens. It’s challenging, but when done well, a simple photograph can capture the essence of a person, a place, or any other subject for that matter. The lifestyle I choose to live allows me to explore places that many people will never get to see -- either because it’s not accessible, they’re not physically able to, or they simply don’t want to. Let's say, just because I’d never want to BASE jump off of a tight rope into a canyon doesn’t mean I don’t love watching well made documentaries about other people doing it. But by capturing the places and people I experience I like to think I’m allowing others a chance to look through my lens and feel the same joy, or at least look at things from a different perspective, for a few brief moments.
What cycling races / endeavors have you gone on that really have shaped your career as a cyclist?
I think that my ‘career’ as a cyclist has been more defined by the races that I HAVEN’T done rather than the races I have done. When I initially started cycling in my post-soccer life, I enjoyed the physical aspect of it. It was a different workout than I was used to. I could go fast and far, and it fulfilled my competitive side.
After a brief spell with some collegiate racing in graduate school, I quickly realized that the reason I enjoyed cycling so much was the feeling of camaraderie and the sense of exploration. It can be an individual sport when you need it to be or it can be a group voyage along unknown groads when you’re feeling adventurous.
The truly euphoric rides, in my experience, have been the ones that allowed me to see new things from a different perspective. Cycling has taken me to amazing places and has introduced me to some of the most important people in my life.
I think back to RAGBRAI, an annual ride across Iowa. A casual ride across a state that I have driven more times than I can count. It’s known as one of ‘those’ Midwestern states that you speed through to get it over with as quickly as possible. I rode RAGBRAI with my dad a few years back and it provided us a week-long bonding experience unique to anything we’ve done before. It was a huge physical achievement for him, and for me I got to see a truly beautiful state in a way that is overlooked when passing in a car or flying over in a plane. Those are the rides that have taken the seemingly repetitive action of pedaling down a road and turned it into a vehicle for exploring the world in a unique way that is earned through hours of hard work and sweat.
Drew Van Kampen, M.S.
is a photographer, graphic designer, and brand strategist. As a former NCAA Division I soccer player, Drew's competitive nature fuels the progression of his creative vision. Today, you can find him riding his bike and exploring the outdoors while sharing his passion for adventures with others by using various creative outlets. Drew has marketing and technical experience int he outdoor industry, specifically in hiking, cycling, and triathlon.