DARKSTAR: The Photography of Chris Brunkhart

Snowboarding and art overlap naturally. Jamie Lynn floats methods and 540s with such flow and signature that it’s pleasing, not just rad, to watch. Especially against a backdrop like Mt Baker after a heavy February storm. Art lurks in style, expression, and culture when it comes to snowboarding. And nature provides the essence of beauty itself.

Add photography to the mix and the potential for fine art appears, art of the sort you can hang on museum or gallery walls, real art. Chris Brunkhart took what he saw in the aesthetic ripping of guys like Craig Kelly, then superimposed that onto the natural beauty he found in the mountains. The snowboard community has its cast of artists, including painters like Jamie, but no one has revealed art in snowboarding to the degree that Chris did with Leica and monochrome film.

Brunkhart’s career in snowboard photography spanned the late 80s and the 90s, and restarted in 2010, until his untimely death in January 2016. Many of Brunk’s photos have been published, and quite a few have become classics in the archives of snowboarding. But his talent exceeded the narrow boundaries of pros and tricks. When you fully explore Chris’ work as a photographer, the true artist emerges. His black-and-white portraits of people and architecture recall Cartier-Bresson; his landscapes and rider-less mountains echo those of Ansel Adams.

Alpenglo Gallery is dedicated to good friend Chris Brunkhart, whose old school shots deserve a trip back into the light of day. He may be gone, but his photographs will outlive us all and continue to set the standard for how snowboarding should be seen. Thanks for leading the way, Chris, and for inspiring projects like Alpenglo.