Featured CPAC Member: Kent Gunnufson

KENT GUNNUFSON

Member Since: 2014

Our members and their participation in the Center plays a vital role in our journey to enrich Denver’s arts scene through ground-breaking exhibits, inspiring educational programs, and community-driven events. We support one another in the pursuit of creativity. This is why we are thrilled to share our new Featured Member, Kent Gunnufson, and his soon to be released book, Rocky Mountains – A Self-Portrait. Kent has spent over 50 years documenting and filming the high country. Take a moment to explore the narrative Kent tells through a range of black and white images from a lifetime’s commitment to this special region.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

ROCK MOUNTAIN – A SELF-PORTRAIT

By Kent Gunnufson

My passion for the magnificent mountain world has grown ever since photographing Yosemite at eight-years-old with my father’s camera. After college and getting married, I sacrificed a professional career by moving to the Rockies and worked in the construction trades, because that’s what it took to live near a major ski resort.

After building a home on the side of a mountain, our family was quickly drawn to the historic mining sites that surrounded us. The deteriorating structures begged to be photographed before time completely rotted away their physical presence. My mind traveled into the past, trying to fathom the miners as they struggled with their physically demanding work in winter’s subzero conditions. Having worked outside in this same environment, I lamented that there was not more documentation about the miners’ lives. That’s when I realized that future generations would be just as curious to see life from the 70s and 80s. But nobody was documenting our lives. So I began to photograph in black & white the men and women that worked in these mountains and there was no monetary support in doing that.

I discovered a special pioneer community that today no longer exists. Unlike the miners, the locals came because of their passion for the region and for skiing, but sustaining a life here in the 70s and 80s was not easy. After a time, I could see that my life paralleled my photographic subjects, and how my passion interpreted my images of the mountain landscape. At the age of 75 I’ve finally put together my memoirs and images in a book titled Rocky Mountains – a Self-Portrait.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

After graduating from college, I sacrificed a professional career to work the construction trades in the harsh, cold environment at 10,000 feet in order to ski and pursue alpine photography. I pursued photography and filmmaking in between jobs and after hours. I was acknowledged in California Art Review, reviewed in the Denver Post, included in Denver, Confluence of the Arts, and featured in Popular Photography and the Los Angeles Times. In 2006, my documentary A Woman Ranching the Rockies aired prime-time on Denver’s PBS station. In 2008, I won Best Colorado Film at the Colorado Independence Film Fest of Colorado and in 2009 a Remi Special Juror’s Award at Worldfest-Houston for Grandma Builds an Earthship. My Bumming Colorado’s Ski Country was awarded Best Documentary in 2013 by both the Mountain Film Awards located out of Mammoth Lakes, California, and Reel Awards in Steamboat Springs, Colorado  plus a Platinum Remi Award at Worldfest Houston in 2014.