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Michael Christopher Brown
Emerging Photographer Fund – FINALIST (number four of eleven)
Photographed predominantly in the broken, rusted, skeletons of communities around Sakhalin Island, Russia, these images explore the wintry atmosphere of a remote land and its people, long scarred from the Soviet era and left behind in modern times.
I have always searched for obscure places to escape to and explore. I spent much of my childhood carving trails in mustard and cornfields and wandering the roads and woods of rural Washington State. As I grew, my interest turned to extreme sports and through these activities I reaped fullness in life. Moreover, as a stuttering youth these solo, expressive pursuits were seemingly vital vehicles of communication.
After physical injuries alienated me from this lifestyle and my friends, my father taught me photography. The camera led me inward and I discovered the richness in not only documenting experiences and the physical world but in visually interpreting my surroundings by noticing what was happening inside myself. To see beyond the depressed emotions in my life, photography, paradoxically, showed me a way to recognize the life behind things, a means of expression beyond the physical world.
Raised in the Skagit Valley, a farming community in Washington State, Michael earned a BA in Psychology and Art from Western Washington University and the University of Hawaii in 2000.
After completing an MA in Visual Communication from Ohio University in 2003, he won the College Photographer of the Year Competition and completed internships at The State Journal-Register and National Geographic Magazine before beginning freelance work in 2006.
In 2007, his essay profiling industry in the Pearl River Delta Region of China was broadcast on PBS during The News Hours with Jim Lehrer. Later that year, American Photo named him one of fifteen emerging “photo pioneers.” In 2008 he was selected for the World Press Joop Swart Masterclass, named a Magenta Emerging Photographer, a PDN 30 and a ‘Young Gun’ by The Art Directors Club in New York. In 2009 he won a Juror’s Choice Award from the Santa Fe Project Competition.
A contributing photographer to the Grazia Neri photo agency, Michael is working on a project about Broadway.
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Many thanks…david alan harvey