introduction to brian adams

Read more about Brian Adams in his letter below.
Thank you for considering me for this role. I love working with and building strong teams, and I greatly value collaboration with others. So much of my career started as an outwardly individualist practice; especially as an Alaska Native photographer working for the biggest publications in the world, I felt like a lone wolf for much of my 17-year career. Once I reached a certain level of success, my work expanded into community and team efforts, where at least a portion of my work continues to thrive.
Over the last five years, I have co-founded two organizations focused on uplifting storytelling by Indigenous photographers and those working in underrepresented communities. In 2018, myself and three others launched what became Indigenous Photograph, which has since then served as a database for qualified Indigenous photographers to share work with photo editors and clients all over the world. We have curated exhibits in New York, Colorado, and Maine and have worked closely with editorial publications like The New York Times and National Geographic on essays about Native American Identity. We have also held lectures with multiple organizations and universities, most recently with the University of Georgia on February 3, 2022. In November 2020, I along with two others launched The 400 Years Project. We worked extensively with leading photographers and photo editors in the industry today, sharing stories of Indigenous communities since the landing of the Mayflower 400 years ago. This project is still ongoing.
I’ve been asked to lead teams in both commercial and fine art roles as well. In the summer of 2021, I was brought on as the main photographer for an Adidas campaign in North Dakota for a shoe by Pharrell Williams celebrating Indigenous peoples. The team was largely led by Indigenous people and directed by Josue Rivas, a co-founder of Indigenous Photograph. This month, I accepted a position curating an exhibit with Bowdoin College in Maine. I am currently in charge of curating an all-Inuit photography exhibit, and I couldn’t be happier to pull together talent and craft of other Inuit creators into something cohesive.
In addition to these pursuits, in 2021, I co-founded Show and Tell Alaska, a mentorship program for photographers who identify as BIPOC, women, and LGTBQIA in Alaska, which is also still ongoing.
I’d like to make a statement here, too, that I am discerning in the teams in which I build; being Native is not enough. Being a person who stands against bigotry, sexism, and rape culture is important, too; I definitively do not support those who harm others or who remain silent in the face of harm, regardless of their nationality or culture. So it is important to know that the choices I make in team efforts does not come down to ethnicity or talent alone; I believe that good people make the best work, and that if we are to address inequality, we must address all inequality.