| At 23, photographer Brian Adams has pretty much reached what
most would consider the peak of his career.
a portfolio featuring Gov. Sarah Palin only months before becoming
the Republican Partys vice presidential running mate, and
freelance work for clients such as the Wall Street Journal, the
London Guardian and Getty images, hes pretty much climbed
to the top of the ladder.
Adams, Inupiat from his fathers side, was raised in Anchorage
and Girdwood and has family ties in Kivalina.
In 2005, during a visit to Kivalina for his grandmothers
funeral, Adams was struck by the beauty of the village and its residents,
and decided that from then on he would make it a personal project.
He had been to Kivalina twice before, once when he was too young
to remember. In 2007, Adams returned to the village on assignment
for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. He spent two extra
days walking around, taking photos of land erosion and village life.
Eventually this place will move and I will be there taking
photos when it moves, Adams said.
Since the visit to Kivalina, Adams has gone on assignment for
The Guardian to Newtok, a village relocated due to erosion. Those
two visits to the villages affected by global warming awakened in
him a passion for following climate change with his cameras
This was one of the long-term goals Adams thought of off the
top of his head during a morning interview at Side Street Espresso
an Anchorage landmark Adams is considered a regular, much
like other Alaska coffee lovers.
For the most part, Adams is pretty content with where hes
Everything I have wanted to accomplish, I have done,
Unlike many struggling freelances, Adams needs to work days
off into his busy schedule or he wont have any.
It just so turns out there is plenty of work for photographers
in the Last Frontier.
is an amazing place for photographers, Adams said. Quoting
his mentor and first photography employer, photographer Clark James
Mishler, he said there is always room for one more photographer
One of the shoots Adams is most excited about these days is
that of vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, several months
before the grand announcement.
Adams was commissioned by the Wall Street Journal to follow
the governor to Juneau where he photographed her jogging with her
newborn, Trig, and portraying her athletic self with the Mendenhall
Glacier in the background.
Since the McCain campaign announced her as his running mate
six weeks ago, Adams photos of Palin have sold to three different
Adams was in kindergarten when he got his first camera. It wasnt
until after high school though that he realized what role photography
would take in his life.
He wasnt that interested in photography at first. He was
more into film. And skateboarding.
A junior at Dimond High School, Adams took photography classes
because it was the closest thing to video, he said.
His first was an old-school traditional photography class that
used black and white 35-millimeter lenses and a dark room.
The following year he took a couple more classes at King Career
Center in Anchorage and photography became more than a hobby. It
was his art.
It didnt even occur to me that I could work and
make a living off of photography, Adams said. I thought
it was just something you do for art.
One day, sitting around his home doing nothing in particular
but taking occasional photos, Adams brother Roland got frustrated
with his younger brothers idleness and threw the classifieds
section of the newspaper in his direction.
nothing would come out of it, Adams decided to give it a scan anyway.
The first listing was for a photographers assistant, working
for Clark James Mishler. Adams had heard of Mishler in his photography
classes. Most every one in Alaska with an interest in photography
has heard of Mishler.
Adams followed Mishler around for two years, learning about
lighting and mostly how to feel comfortable taking peoples
During his free time he worked on a portfolio and shot photos
for his first clients Kaladi Brothers.
Today, Adams will never be caught without his camera. Or two.
One small Leica strapped across his shoulder and a large 50-millimeter
Hasselblad in his bag. Both cameras are newer versions of the style
of cameras used in the 1950s.
Ninety percent of his work is done on film. He pulls out the
digital equipment only when clients require it and Photoshop is
something he prefers to stay away from.
I try to shoot as perfect as possible the first time,
Adams said while laughing at his own statement.
Sticking mainly to 50-millimeter lenses, Adams is also not a
fan of telephoto lenses those that allow you to stand hundreds
of feet away and still produce a close-up image.
I call it sniping, he said.
Adams portfolio is a varied selection of fine art, portraits,
street photography and editorial shots. Aside from a long list of
publications and local clients such as NANA Regional Corp. and the
Alaska Native Heritage Center, his work his featured can occasionally
be seen in various venues around town. His Website www.baphotos.com
offers a generous sampling of his work.