This series of fragmented, open-ended narratives explores the journey of self-discovery in a world where we are increasingly isolated from nature, culture, and community—a world where we have more choices, but our roles are less clear. I long for a lost simplicity, real or imagined, beyond the fading edge of memory.
My personal wanderings across America with my wife, Tasha (my muse and model), inspire the photographs. Years ago, my wife and I left our jobs to pursue our passions, trading comfort and security for a hardscrabble nomadic life. My work is therefore about following our hearts and finding our way, despite a nagging angst. It’s about accepting ambiguity, climbing past our own insignificance, and finding wonder on the other side.
I create my images in-camera on film using vintage and homemade equipment, without digital compositing or manipulation. I print in platinum/palladium on handmade Japanese tissue, yielding delicate, translucent prints that seem like visions on the edge of being grasped, reinterpreted, or forgotten. I make them for those who, in this virtual age, long to commune quietly with a genuine object in hand.
The Last Bookstores
The Last Bookstores combines photographs and interviews to document an industry during a time of historic changes. I photographed independent bookstores old and new, large and small, iconic and obscure, in big cities and small towns across America. I spent hours interviewing their owners and staff. Why do they persist when the vast majority of independents have folded in the face of cutthroat competition from chain superstores and online retailers?
The booksellers I met are passionately committed to sustaining their local communities and keeping the flame of literary culture alive. Far from giving up, they’re fighting back—and the latest statistics show they might be winning. Is this the dawn of a remarkable comeback, or a defiant last stand for independent bookstores?
In keeping with the theme of an industry in turmoil, I photographed this project on large and medium-format film—a slow but superlative craft in jeopardy. Two of the films I used to shoot these images have since been discontinued.
My work explores how we define ourselves through memory and imagination in a world where we are increasingly isolated from nature, culture, and community—a world where we have more choices, but our roles are less clear. My work is about accepting ambiguity, climbing past our own insignificance, and finding wonder on the other side. My photographs aren’t literal documents, but rather suggested narratives that conjure up what we hold down inside.
I create my images entirely in-camera on film, using vintage equipment and lenses I cobble together. I print in platinum/palladium on handmade Japanese tissue, yielding delicate, translucent prints that seem like visions on the edge of being grasped, reinterpreted, or forgotten. I make them for those who, in this virtual age, long to commune quietly with a genuine object in hand.
Bryan David Griffith’s work is included in several collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Center for Creative Photography; the University of Michigan Museum of Art; and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. He is the winner of a 2016 Phoenix Art Museum Contemporary Forum Artist Grant, and the Flagstaff Arts Council's 2016 Viola Award for outstanding acheivement in the visual arts. His recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Arizona; the Griffin Museum of Photography, Boston; Galerie BMG, Woodstock, New York; Open Shutter Gallery, Durango, Colorado; Translations Gallery, Denver; the Flagstaff Photography Center, Arizona; and the Shanghai Photographic Arts Festival, China. His group shows include the Phoenix Art Museum; the University of Arizona Museum of Art; Panopticon Gallery, Boston; Wall Space Gallery, Santa Barbara and Seattle; Afterimage Gallery, Dallas; and Art Intersection, Gilbert, Arizona. Slate, Arizona Highways, PDN, B&W and Diffusion magazines have featured his work. Despite these successes, he is most thankful for the ordinary people that have been inspired to collect his work, and allow him to spend his life doing what he loves. Bryan steeps his work in memory and metaphors of personal journey. He lost everything after his conscience prompted him to resign from a successful career in big business. Beginning a new, hardscrabble career as a photographer, Bryan was driving across the country when his van broke down in Flagstaff, Arizona. He fell in love, first with the town, then with his wife, and never left. Bryan’s body of work, In a Big World Wandering, was born on the road with his wife and muse, craftsperson Tasha Miller Griffith. More than a chronicle of the pair’s travels, the work features narrative fragments about the human experience that seem recalled or imagined. Griffith prefers basic analog equipment and techniques to create his work—simple images that invite quiet contemplation.
In 2014 Bryan received a grant to create new work for the 2015 traveling exhibition project Fires of Change, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Bryan stepped outside photography to explore the social and environmental issues around wildfire though new experimental work in painting, sculpture, and installation. Bryan's work for Fires of Change earned the 2016 Viola Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts, Flagstaff's highest honor for acheivement in the arts.
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