Michael D. Brannan
Gates of The Arctic National Park, Alaska 2018.
I am a life long outdoorsman who led my first backcountry-expedition at the age of sixteen. I served as an FMF Corpsman (combat medic for Marines) in the US Navy where I had the privilege of serving my country in combat. I hold a B.S. in Environmental Geography with a biology minor from Texas State University where I spent my collegiate years learning about nature, the physical world, science, and the art of photography. It was during those years that I traveled to Big Bend National Park to learn how to function as a geographic field researcher and fell in completely in love with the worlds remaining wild places.
In addition to my academic history I have also spent years living out of a backpack often in remote corners of the globe ranging from the Sahara to the Arctic. There is something about the newness of travel and the massive power of our vast wildernesses that simply keeps calling me to it. I am pulled to places empty of human life and, usually alone, I feel a raw elation when exposed to the risks and rewards of self-sufficiency. I have hiked and photographed segments of the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails, a dozen or more national parks, have written three guidebooks, and led an expedition into the Arctic.
A passionate humanist, my work typically reflects a sympathetic aesthetic casting my subjects, human, landscape, or animal in a light that reveals some specific and meaningful aspect of their character. I am, typically, a street-style photographer who seldom uses a tripod. I love to “run and gun” with my camera and to see the beauty in the world as it is. I do not believe in staged shots for any reason, I can move myself but I will not change the world to conform to my aesthetic. Common themes in my work revolve around nature, isolation, the interaction between strong light & shadows, and the human experience.
I live in a suburb of Seattle with the love of my life, my stunning and brilliant wife Aundrea and with our daughter who enjoys seeking the deeper truths of the wilder world at least as much as I do. We spend most of our time living and enjoying all that the natural wonderland of the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
From the very beginning I have attempted to capture the human experience as sincerely and accurately as possible. As an artist I have long been mesmerized by the diversity of the lives we all choose to lead and deeply inspired by the passionate way so many of us pursue our visions of ourselves.
If my training as a geographer did anything for me it was to instill in me a passion to see and experience places. No near location, a place is the entirety of the physical components, history, people, natural, and social constructs of a particular location. I try to capture all of that in my pictures.