Meet the judges – Chris Rainier

Canadian photographer, Chris Rainier, got his grounding in photography as Ansel Adams last assistant and has gone on to work with National Geographic. He is co-founder of The Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation.

It’s a real pleasure to have such a renowned photographer on our judging panel. Can you tell us a little bit about your photography and how you came to be such a well-known travel photographer?

My life has been and remains committed to recording and celebrating the wonders of the world and its cultures on film, as reminders of the past to future generations still unborn – as postcards to the future. With the pressure of the tsunami of modernity sweeping across the planet and our human presence and impact growing ever greater, I feel an urgent need to document and to help to save the fragile ecosystems that have survived for thousands of generations and that are now under such duress. We are changing the planet rapidly and beyond recognition – and if we are not careful, it may be to our own demise.  My career began with the teachings and tutelage of the noted landscape photographer Ansel Adams. As his last assistant, he taught me the importance of using photography as a social tool for good. His photographs in all their artistic beauty are testimonies to the urgent need to preserve and protect that last areas of true wilderness in the North American landscape. I took his wisdom and his dedication to heart and I have tried to apply them to my mission in life. My mission will always be to photograph the last “wild”, the truly sacred, places that remain. Also within that time, the photographic medium has changed remarkably. Where once I toiled away in the darkroom with chemicals, light sensitive film and photo- graphic paper, I now for the most part use digital cameras. I do still love working with the old-style cameras using black & white film to create beautiful prints that cannot be matched in the digital world but I believe in the end using the right tool for the right occasion. 

Become a TPOTY member to read on!


By Chris Coe

Chris is a professional photographer, and the founder of Travel Photographer of the Year. He has been working as a professional photographer since 1992, shooting both editorial and advertising photography, and has published over 50 books. He lectures on and teaches photography, mentors and is a competition judge.