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Chad Brown

Photography by Ashley Courter

Portland-based Chad Brown is an adventure photographer and creative director with an eye on the world. His work connects viewers to endangered areas, wild spaces, and the human spirit, documenting a visceral sense of place and being.

As a photographer and creative director, Brown’s work gives voice to natural areas and their native communities, those most-impacted by destructive biological, cultural, and climate factors. He hopes to not only bring awareness to these stories but to also inspire broader education around environmental and wildlife issues. His latest exhibition documents life at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — an area at risk for destructive oil and gas drilling. Photography features the Gwich’in people and the lives they’ve built for generations across the Porcupine Caribou Herd’s migratory route.

While Brown is a social and environmental justice advocate, he also credits his documentary portraits and photographic exhibitions as a way to heal from the war traumas he experienced as a Navy service member — an experience that also inspired the creation of his nonprofit, Soul River.

Soul River brings together at-risk youth and U.S. military veterans for expeditions into threatened wild spaces for education and cultural experiences that also foster nature and conservation advocacy. Brown is a board member of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and provides youths with the opportunity to meet with congressional members as part of his work for public lands and wild places.

More from Chad Brown

In 2016, Brown joined us on the Design Week Portland's Main Stage where he discussed the importance of aligning your capabilities with your service and true self.