“A good photo captures a moment. A great photo captures a story.”
Chris Dickinson strives to achieve the latter. As a professional photographer, he travels backroads and rugged landscapes, chronicling the lives of those who call the West “home.” His lens is drawn to the hidden wonders of rural America—wonders which, by his estimation, appear to be in decline.
“It’s an honor being able to tell the stories of a way of life that may not be here for generations to come,” he explains.
Dickinson was brought up in Great Falls, where his great grandfather established a meat company and rubbed elbows with the likes of Paris Gibson and Charlie Russell. (In fact, both men became close friends of the family; Gibson was affectionately called “Grandpa” by the Dickinson children, and a Russell original, gifted by the cowboy artist himself, remains in the family collection.)
While always in close proximity to rural Montana, Dickinson felt distanced from it in his youth. It wasn’t until he moved to Utah that he began to truly appreciate the West. In 2008, he and his wife, Joe, founded a dog training business called Western States K-9 College (now Dog Training 360). Dickinson’s photography was purely supplementary at this point. His wife booked clients; he photographed them. After two years, he set his sights on other subjects, and that’s when the doors to the West opened for him.
“I was invited to photograph some Western subjects; I never expected it to become a photography business,” he explains. “I’ve built relationships with farmers and ranchers for over ten years. They’ve given me access and accepted me into their world.”
Today, Dickinson is a full-time, internationally award-winning photographer.
“This world was new to me,” he says, “but I’ve found my own passion here in this Western way of life.”