Kaycee Landsaw and his wife own a house in Bountiful, Utah, the same town he told himself he would leave and never come back. But it’s hard to beat living ten minutes from downtown Salt Lake and five minutes from the mountains. “If Utah had an ocean,” he says, “it would have everything.
Kaycee spent his adolescence scouring Salt Lake for skate spots, and roaming the the desert trails of Moab, hiking, climbing, and riding bikes. “Of all the people I’m surrounded by, I feel like my rollerblading buddies know the city better than anyone else—we were on a constant scavenger hunt. Now the places we skated for years are the locations of motorcycle shoots. I love the places people don’t like to go.” Kaycee’s grandparents had a cabin in the Uintas mountains. Every weekend he was either there or with his mother in Moab. Traveling, even short distances within the state, instilled in him a lifelong desire to move and explore.
Kaycee is a designer by trade, but he’s been photographing most of his life. He started by capturing everything in his friends’ lives, from their days of roller blading, to their weddings and marketing campaigns for their first businesses. As he got deeper into riding motorcycles he worked for trade with various component companies, exchanging pictures for parts so he could build his dream bikes.
“I’m not a ‘formal’ photographer,” he says. “No dialed shot lists—I like working with people I can just have a good time with. When we go out we just get wild. I’ll stop in the middle of it all and just start shooting. They’re real experiences—hopefully that shows. This is what we do.”
Kaycee is largely self taught. Describing his early days he says he was, “shy to ask people for help. I’d just go out and shoot and look up solutions on the internet.” He learned from accidents while out making pictures, like forgetting to change his exposure, getting blurred photos and then using that in future work.
These days, Kaycee seems to have everything figured out—work, passion projects, a home and a family. But just a few years ago he put his life on hold to reevaluate what really mattered to him. In the time just after he and his wife married, their material belongings started piling up. “We were spending money on so many things that felt essential at the time. It freaked me out—we didn’t need any of them.” The couple had been living in a condo in the heart of downtown for two years and always had a thousand things going on at any given time. “We wanted to step back.
So they moved to Costa Rica.
Kaycee always tells people that they moved, not “travelled” there. “There’s a big difference between travelling somewhere and living there,” he says. “When travelling, you’re always hitting highlights. We just picked up our lives and moved.” Before leaving Utah, they sold their car and suspended their cell phone plans. Their only expense for the next three months would be a storage unit back in the states and rent in their new home, ten minutes from the ocean.
Their days were simple. As Kaycee describes, “I would wake up, go for a walk, pick fruit, work remotely until 3pm and then go to the beach.” He fulfilled a lifelong dream of learning to surf, and did so by paddling out every day and riding until sunset. “I have the hardest time sitting still,” he says. “I went from being super busy—working from 7-4, going out photographing, coming home to edit, and then going out to eat with my wife—to having literally nothing to do. The only thing I had to worry about was whether the waves were good—and we only had two flat days. Our best friends down there were a retired couple.”
The move centered Kaycee and gave him a reference point for what it truly means to slow down. “With social media I think there’s hype around people making things seem better than they are,” he says. “In Costa Rica I realized what was actually necessary and what was excess in life.”
Since returning to Utah things have picked back up. Kaycee and his wife had their first child and he started working for Wandrd, a bag company that caters to the photographer/adventurer. When he’s not at home he’s on the road making pictures for of the bags in use out in the world. Somehow he’s even managing to plan for future personal photo projects. “I’ve shot a lot of motorcycle stuff in the last year, and want to explore some of my other interests—skating, rock climbing, dirt biking, and Boosted boards.
Of course, we’re flattered to be a part of the way Kaycee’s plans. And even more so, we’re glad he can now confidently say “A lot of my time is taken up with work right now. I’m getting to the point where I need another reset.” The open road is calling.