How Many Dreams in the Dark?
Lee Crane, Bordistan October 2010
In snowboard photography, where bright colors, blue skies, and white snow sell covers, ads, and editorial, Chris has always been a bit of a dark star. He loves shooting his Lecia. And he prefers black and white film. In the early 90s, when most pro photographers would only get their cameras out on cloudless, full sun days, Chris had no problem shooting black and white photos during the biggest storms of the season. While some of that had to do with the realities of weather in the Northwest, he also seemed to prefer it. As a senior photographer for both Transworld Snowboarding and Snowboarder magazines Chris traveled the world shooting snowboarding, yet, some of his best images are of snowboard heros falling away into the shaded throat of some Mt. Baker powder slot with nothing but snow-laden trees, or a cliff line to frame the action. Though his photos ran in all the major magazines, some of his favorites were never published. That’s one of the reasons he is excited about his new book. (full interview)
Dan Oneil, Method Magazine April 2011
Nobody has visualized snowboarding quite like Chris Brunkhart. Few people have traveled and ridden the world with its legends, not just as photographer but also as friend. Even fewer possess the talent that charges Chris' photos with a hypnotizing potential to put us there, to feel snowboarding. Because of his photos' success, Chris too is a legend in snowboarding. Today his camera is focused on other themes, but when documenting snowboarding in the 1990s his mission was to present what he saw as a snowboarding photojournalist — to tell a story about snowboarding, using its most talented riders as characters. His recently published book, How Many Dreams in the Dark?, is a visual collection of stories from the hardcore, underground days when ski resorts scowled at us, the Olympics left us alone and a punk kind of energy flowed
through snowboarding on the mountain and off, on the road, wherever we were. After a decade of silence, Chris has finally invited us to open our eyes again and revisit those moments of snowboarding's fermentation. Wander through Chris' book and you will see where snowboarding comes from. These images are universal, timeless, just pure moments of snowboarding that resonate within us, inspire us to round up the crew and go ride. What follows is a glimpse through the seasoned camera of Chris Brunkhart to see how and why he froze images that define snowboarding. (full interview)
Jeff Galbraith, Frequency Photobook Winter 2011
Since snowboarding’s first days, there has been a compulsion to photograph the sport/culture, as there has been an equal compulsion to look at these images—from simple bravado snapshots of friends on golf courses and skiarea sidehill action in the late ’70s, to Bud Fawcett’s and Trevor Graves’ advancement of the genre beginning in the early ’80s. Now, of course, there is a sea of digital wizards—entirely pro-pro photogs with a small staff and more data than the Library of Congress. Somewhere between came Chris Brunkhart. “In our early travels together, it was always about telling the story—not about who the magazines thought were cool that month.” In trying to recollect our first meeting, I think it came via a guy named Nurmi from back-in-the-day Canadian publication Concrete Powder. I was a year out from my internship at Transworld and then-Editor Lee Crane assigned a story in Whistler. I asked Chris to shoot the photos. While I was amped to finally have an opportunity to get something published, I was equally concerned with Chris’ lack of shutter action. While most photogs would burn several rolls per day, Chris was pecking for images like he was hunting for chanterelles. Only later—and especially as his talent grew—I came to appreciate this distinctly different approach. When the hordes were setting up tripods and slaveflashes in the media pit below a big air landing, Chris was climbing caffolding above the fray. When others were chasing post-Olympic glory at stadium events, Chris was on the road with Craig Kelly in Chile.