It takes a special skill set to stand suspended 500 feet over a canyon in Moab, and an even more unique headspace. Ewan Burns found the spark of a personal project at the annual gathering that is GGBY.
Ewan Burns was on holiday BASE jumping with friends in Moab, Utah, when he first encountered GGBY, and he knew he had the start of a new personal project. The annual event—officially named Gobble Gobble Bitches Yeah—is a Thanksgiving-week gathering of highliners. Attendees walk an intricate web of slacklines suspended, at minimum, 500 feet above the canyons. As they continue forward along the lines, protected from falling only by a harness connected to a rope, the ground sharply descends to about 1200 feet below.
GGBY started similarly to Ewan’s own desert getaway, with a group of friends meeting informally to do what they love. As it has grown and become more organized over the last 11 years, it has kept its intimate community feel. That’s part of what compelled Ewan to shoot the participants, from close-up portraits of the adventurers to tiny specks hovering above a vast, striated landscape of deep red sandstone.
The gathering attracts Cirque du Soleil performers, rock climbers, and aerial silks artists, and is as physically demanding as it is mentally. “What I found interesting was the joy expressed by people who had completed a line,” said Ewan. “It seemed they had tuned into another state of mind.”