Mountain-enthusiast and North American photographer Grant Gunderson is living the dream—or at least his version of it. Before ever picking up a camera, the Washington native spent every chance he got on the slopes, even learning to ski before he could walk. As he got older, Gunderson would document the adventures of his friends and after receiving offers to buy his prints, he shifted his focus full-time to photography. His deep-seated passion for snow sports, however, didn’t just fall by the wayside. 20 years later, Gunderson makes a living traveling the world shooting everything from professional athletes to stunning cold weather landscapes, and skiing is just a part of the job.
Gunderson named his active upbringing and constant immersion in the outdoors as an instrumental part of his success, noting that in order to understand the nuances of anything you must experience it for yourself. His undeniable relationship to the world of action sports and mountain culture is on display throughout his body of work, and his creative depictions have been sought after by the likes of ESPN and National Geographic Adventure.
The constant in Gunderson’s craft is this aforementioned interaction with nature, oftentimes juxtaposing his subjects against the grandeur of mountain ranges or billows of unspoiled powder. You can feel the emptiness, at times, of the idyllic landscapes and the intimacy that’s shared between the subject, the photographer and the environment. It’s a connection unlike any other, one that puts the scope of man versus nature into perspective. Gunderson hopes, at the very least, it’s enough to entice people to get outside and explore their own surroundings.
“I don’t think you can shoot most things, or action sports especially, without being a participant yourself. It’s what creates an image that’s going to speak to people. For me, there’s just something about snow specifically that I think people are drawn to.”
For more on Gunderson and his work, you can visit his website grantgunderson.com