Chris landed a dream job in the early 1980s at the age of 19, while still in college, when he became Ansel Adams’ assistant. Working for Ansel Adams was not only a dream but also a fantastic education in the craft of photography. He was Ansel’s last assistant and he has gone on the be a National Geographic Society explorer and photographer. We caught up with him at the Xposure Festival of Photography in Sharjah, UAE.
During his tenure with the noted photographer, he worked with Ansel Adams to help amplify the use of art photography as a social tool – helping to preserve threatened wilderness areas and National Parks. Chris went on to collaborate with UNESCO and IUCN on a global project using photography to preserve endangered wilderness areas around the world.
Chris Rainier is a documentary photographer and filmmaker who is highly respected for his documentation of endangered cultures and traditional languages around the globe. In 2002, he was awarded the Lowell Thomas Award by the Explorers Club for his efforts on cultural preservation.
He is the founder and director of The Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation – a global charitable foundation focused on preserving biodiversity and traditional culture.
Chris has completed photographic projects for the United Nations, UNESCO, Amnesty International, Conservation International, the Smithsonian Institution, Time Magazine, the New York Times, LIFE Magazine, and the National Geographic Society. He has photographed global culture, conflict, famine and war in such places as Somalia, Sarajevo/Bosnia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Iraq for TIME Magazine and for NPR Radio.
You can see more of Chris’s photography and his books on his website chrisrainier.org