© DISCOVERY CHANNEL/ DAVID JOHNSON
The Brown Family in the Alaskan wilderness they call home.
Award-winning celebrity and advertising portrait photographer David Johnson recently traveled into the Alaskan Wilderness to catch up with Billy Brown and his large family, the stars of Discovery Channel's new show Alaskan Bush People. The Brown family includes Billy, his wife Ami and their seven grown children, all reputed to have been born and raised in the wild. The family is so removed from civilization that they can go six to nine months without ever seeing an outside. They have developed their own unique accent and dialect, and they continue to live and sleep together in a one-room cabin.
Recently their cabin was seized from them for being on public land. In spite of losing their home, Brown and his family decided to go deeper into the wilderness to the Copper River Valley in Southcentral Alaska. The Copper River Valley is considered by some to contain some of the most beautiful terrain in North America. It is a rugged, unforgiving land with the danger of bears and temperatures that can drop 60 degrees below without the wind chill considered. But it is also an area known for great hunting and salmon fishing.
Johnson was hired to capture natural portraiture of the Bush family in this harsh environment, as Discovery follows them in their quest for a new home. Johnson worked with Discovery Communications Photo Producer Robin Scofidio, along with Susan Wetherby and Jenny Limm. Knowing that there would not be power that far out, he had to rely on several Profoto 600B battery strobe kits and the Profoto Air Remote to shoot the portraits. Johnson is known for doing challenging shoots, and Discovery has come to rely on him when they have to tackle celebrities or high-profile subjects in normal surroundings, as well as those that can be gritty tough and downright dangerous.
Alaskan Bush People airs on The Discovery Channel on Tuesday nights at 10:00pm EST/PST p.m. following The Deadliest Catch.
In addition to taking on adventurous shoots, David Johnson will teach a photo workshop entitled the Five-Minute Portrait from August 3-8, 2014 at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops this summer.
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© Discovery Channel/ David Johnson. Billy Brown and his wife Ami Brown in the Alaskan Wilderness.