Artist Residency

Introducing Photographer Christopher Shane | BKB Artist Residency

Nov 29, 2016Brooklyn Boulders

Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn Boulders?

 My name is Chris Shane and I’m an outdoor photographer, storyteller and mountaineer living in Boston.

I’m psyched to work with Brooklyn Boulders at the Somerville location to help foster my own twist on Humans of New York in the form of a “Climbers of Brooklyn Boulders.” I’ll be hanging out at the gym, climbing hard and looking for awesome people to profile things like: the diversity of climbers at BKB, why they climb, what their goals and dreams are, where they’re from and where they’ve been, what profound life experiences they’ve had – the list is endless. In short, I don’t know what I’ll find and who I’ll meet, but I can’t wait to find out. Give me a shout if you see me around!

We’re excited for this one. How did you start climbing?

I spent a majority of my childhood camping and hiking in Maine and visiting the National Parks as a kid, but never actually climbed. When I was 21 and looking to fill a massive physical void that collegiate basketball had filled before then, my mother sent me on a winter mountaineering course in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with The North Face athlete Mark Synnott.

Everyone knows the “bug” that develops after that first climb, and I certainly caught it.

It can be dangerously addictive. How has climbing changed your life?

Climbing and being in the mountains provides for me a sense of purpose and active engagement with the natural world that I simply can’t have in my city life.

Our society as a collective unit is rapidly moving away from participating (willingly) in the outdoors. Climbing for me offers the simple freedom to express myself as an inherently curious and adventurous person living in the 21st century.

Without a doubt, the climbing community has had an enormous impact on my overall outlook of the world. I’ve made lifelong friends, seemingly out of thin air, all over a shared common interest and passion for climbing and being in the mountains. The bond in this community is pure love. I’ve no doubt many people at BKB have had strikingly similar experiences.

Photo by Christopher Shane.
Photo by Christopher Shane.

What are your current biggest projects, on and off the wall?

I’m currently working on two really exciting projects:

Magic City is a winter adventure documentary and long form photo essay exploring a once prosperous past of a small mill town in Maine, Millinocket, and the winter wonderland of Baxter State Park just beyond the town lines.

I’m directing and creating this short film by following a team of athletes into the park in search of the ultimate New England adventure. We’ll capture adventure footage of the famous Knife Edge route, alpine/ice climbs and a search for the perfect ski route on Mount Katahdin, combined with beautiful timelapse video and winter scenes in the park. My hope is to come full circle and find out what it means to live in that old mill town in Maine, and bridge the connection between the folks who live there and the beautiful park they’ve got sitting right in their backyard.

I’m planning to head to Denali in the spring/summer of 2017 with a star studded team. I’m starting to ramp up training now, begining the long process of logistics planning, and digging deep creatively in search of an authentic content piece to incorporate into our team’s (several) big objectives – including skiing off the summit of Denali.

Who or what inspires you?

The three people who inspire me are: Bradford Washburn, David Roberts, and Renan Ozturk. Collectively, they each possess a masterful ability to make art and simultaneously push the boundaries of climbing and exploration in the mountains. They inspire me on a daily basis to endlessly pursue and craft my own unique skill set in making art, telling meaningful stories, and moving in the mountains. 
Photo by Christopher Shane.
Photo by Christopher Shane.
I like to think they all share the same innate desire to be outside, and particularly in the mountains. My guess is that they felt/feel most at home, and certainly most alive, while on the wall or deep in remote Alaskan ranges, and conversely, when they sat down in the dark room, their study or the editing bay, to bring a story, a place, an issue, to life. I hope to do the same.


Check out Christopher’s website here and follow him on Instagram @chrismshane. Interested in applying for our Artist Residency program? Check it out here. 

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