Hello, world. I’m Braden Gunem. I’m a photographer. I have always had an interest in photography and adventure, probably stemming from time spent in the pages of National Geographic magazines; after all, I still want to go harvest honey in Nepal while dangling from vines. When I was a kid I loved the home video camera, a giant shoulder carry VHS machine of glory, by age 8 I was making stop-motion films staring my toys. In high school, a friend and I made a documentary featuring our sub-terrain caving adventures. I joined the Navy after high school and drifted further and further away from motion pictures for a long time and am just now rekindling my interest in filmmaking. My first duty station, Great Lakes Naval Training Station, had a photography club where I learned to develop film, print and shoot with studio lights, skills I still use, but the real interest was in travel and adventure sports photography. When the training was finished and the time came to pick a duty station. I picked the furthest away and most exotic station that was available, Sasebo, Japan.
Japan was about as exotic as it gets for a guy from a small town in Arkansas. I loved learning the language and exploring the culture. I started shooting every day often roaming around the alleys till late at night. As an English speaking and self-learning photographer in Japan Amazon.com was a major ally. Through those books I learned the merits of Fuji Velvia; I still love and use this film. I don’t think I’m the only person that misses bags of film in the refrigerator or maybe I just dislike all the empty space:( The one book that really made a lasting impact in how I shoot and see the world was “Photography and the Art of Seeing” by Freeman Patterson. I feel I owe allot to that one little paperback book. Which I still keep on my bed stand. Once I started to “see” the Japanese culture and the adventure it afforded really got me addicted to image making. I finished my time in the military and started college for a variety of interest that kept revolving and returning to photography. When I was considering returning for a photography degree a photo editor acquaintance told me it would be a waste of time and money. I haven’t looked back.