At 27, Brad Goldpaint’s life seemed to be moving in a great direction. He was a successful architect working for a major firm in Los Angeles. Life was good—that is until his beloved mother died suddenly during a routine surgery. Everything changed in that moment.
“When I lost my mother, I thought life was over,” Goldpaint said. It seemed like things couldn’t get any worse. But they did. Changes in the economy forced his company to downsize, and he soon found himself without a job. Goldpaint had lost his two greatest loves within a matter of a few short days, and grief began to overtake his life.
“It was so hard because it all hurt. Everything inside me, hurt.”
Brad started to withdraw, and to sink into his own grief and depression. He began to question his own existence and life direction. In search of meaning and maybe even answers to the question “why?” Brad decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) alone.
The PCT is a wilderness hike that runs between Campo, California and ends in Manning Park, British Columbia. Taking his camera along to chronicle his journey, he set out on the 1300 mile hike that would forever change his life.
On the trail, completely isolated and alone, he found there were no distractions and this gave him an opportunity for deep introspection, reflection, and healing. For six months it was simply one foot in front of the other, just as it is for all of us. We can’t erase things. We can’t rush things. We can only take one step of our journey at a time, and allow life to unfold as it will.
Alone in the wilderness and standing in places few of us will see in our lifetime, from the remote areas of the Mojave Dessert to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Goldpaint began capturing pictures of the night sky. No one before had ever captured the amazing sights from the same vantage points, or with the same level of clarity that he had. Often when people see his images they think the photographs are fakes or retouched, but as Goldpaint is quick to point out, “The universe is in constant motion and it dances above us every night.” He’s just been fortunate enough to be in the right places to see and photograph it.
For many, loss creates a void that is best filled through some form of creative expression—from music to dance, painting to photography, these expressions help move us forward. Brad Goldpaint learned this first hand. His creative journey through grief helped him to feel happy once again, and to find new meaning in life that has literally taken him to celestial heights he could never have imagined.
Now, when Goldpaint shares his personal story with others, he says, “I thank my mother every day for the lessons I’ve learned from her passing. I loved her in life and I’ll love her forever. Through that grieving experience I found complete peace. Being on that trail brought me to this.”
His goal is to show people that something absolutely beautiful can come from loss, and when it comes to finding happiness again, the sky truly is the limit.
Goldpaint’s photos have been recognized around the globe. Due to public demand, he now leads small groups of beginner to advanced photographers through the same hiking trails, providing them with an opportunity to capture their own photos of the amazing skies. To see more of his artwork or to schedule a tour, check out his website at: http://goldpaintphotography.com.