Brian Adams

Alaska Artist Spotlight: Connecting with Inuit culture and community through photography. 

ᖃᕆᓴᐅᔭᓕᕆᔾᔪᑏᑦ ᓄᓇᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᐱᒋᔭᖏᑦ ᓯᓚᐅᑉ ᖃᓄᐃᓐᓂᖓ ᑭᒡᒐᖅᑐᐃᔩᑦ
Individual standing in the snow with pieces of whale meat surrounding them on the snowy ground.

Based in Anchorage, Alaska, Brian Adams is a photographer with an eye for capturing moments of Inuit life and community as well as the land. Through his skill for photography, Adams provides new perspectives and brings attention to important topics such as Indigenous sovereignty, decolonization and climate change and its effect on Indigenous communities. He is the founder of Indigenous Photograph, a virtual database of works by Indigenous visual artists, and is also the co-founder of The 400 Years Project, which is a composition of photo essays about Indigenous identity, rights and representation.  

Adams has produced two photography books, the first being I am Alaskan (2013), which includes his photographs of the land in Alaska as well as the people who live there. In his second, I am Inuit (2017), Adams shares portraits captured during his travels through Alaska, visiting twenty-one communities and hearing stories about resilience and change as they navigate the impacts of colonization and climate change. 

With many successful exhibitions, Adams has shared his love for photography and documentation. I AM ALASKAN The Exhibit ran at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation in 2013 and LA Artcore in Los Angeles in 2014. I AM INUIT The Exhibit ran in 2017 at the Anchorage Museum and Galleri Nordnorge in Norway. In 2018, Adams received a fellowship grant from The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation in recognition and support of his work. 

Adams’ skill and passion for sharing Inuit voices and perspectives has gained him national and international recognition. He has been featured in several national and international publications including the Inuit Art Quarterly, National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine and Time Magazine. His work is included in the collections of the Anchorage Museum, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center and the Library of Congress. 

Individual standing in the snow with pieces of whale meat surrounding them on the snowy ground.
Brian Adams, Marie Rexford (2017). COURTESY THE ARTIST.

Credit: This video is by Michael Conti and was originally published by the Anchorage Museum on March 26, 2020. COURTESY THE ANCHORAGE MUSEUM.


This story is part of the Alaska Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.