Brian M. Christopher | Camas, Washington |

Artist Statement: 

As weird as it sounds, I was born a photographer and for a long time I worked as a photojournalist. But I also tried to bring a strong sense of design and composition to all assignments, even breaking news. Now my images lean heavily on content but equally on the visual “feel” that make an effective photograph.

Describe your motivation in three words: 

Curiosity, creativity and adventure.

What inspired this photographic series?

It was amazing to me that the thousands of years of Native culture in this area had been reduced to city, county or river names on a map. There is little general awareness that this region was a metro center of Native peoples.

Who/what is your biggest photographic influence?

As a kid (nerd, right?), I poured over the pages of LIFE Magazine and National Geographic as well as the books of photos from the WPA photographers. Those images could tell stories instantly.

Favorite piece of photographic equipment?

I like to shoot wide and close when I can so my normal lens is a 17-40 so I can show subjects as if you were standing right with them.

What is your preferred photographic subject matter?

I’m not much of landscape photographer. For me, an image comes alive when there is a face, some interaction and a strong composition. Lighting, especially with the photos from this project sets the feel across all of the locations.

What’s your favorite color?

Blue, sky blue. I have zillions of photos of clouds against our crazy blue skies.

Do you have a lucky number? What is that number?

Nine. It’s always been nine and I drive my family crazy when I break numbers up so they come out to nine.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?

Two days, during an assignment covering a hurricane that bounced along the Gulf coast before finally hitting New Orleans. The pictures made it all worth it.

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