Faces of the San Juan Project

May 26, 2017  •  5 Comments

In A Nutshell: The San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado are like no other in their grandeur and are equally matched by the people that make this place unique and special. I will spend the next 120 days or so seeking these people out to capture their portraits and story to present to the world.


I've been living in the San Juan (in particular, Ouray) for 5 years now and always amazed by how much there is still to explore here and learn as a mountain dweller.  You can't help but notice, if you spent any amount of time in these beautiful mountains, that the residents of this area of Colorado are pretty unique and special people. 

Dare I say, Epic? 

I will say it! Epic!

These mountains wouldn't have the flavor they do today with out the climbers, skiers, mountain bikers, mountaineers, photographers, brewers, mountain guides and even dogs.  Our dogs here are epic.

Photographers are story tellers and if you have followed my work you'll notice a story has already been told about what this area looks like with a glimpse into the culture and lifestyle.  So, I'm going to spend the next couple of months (or as long as it takes really) drilling down into our culture to capture portraits of the people that make these mountains colorful and unique. 

My plan will be to start in Ouray and work my way to Silverton, Durango, Cortez, Delores, Rico, Ophir, Telluride and Ridgway with a stop in Norwood to capture one very, very unique cowboy who will remain anonymous until the picture is captured.  Hint, hint, he used to ride his horse into the New Sheridan in Telluride for a beer. 

The Faces of the San Juan Project is not for profit, I'm simply trying to gather these images and present them to the world to showcase how unique and rugged you need to be to thrive here.  Not much different than the mining days of 150 years ago.  Although, this project is not for profit to me, I want to somehow raise awareness and funds for causes that are important to the individual communities but also to the San Juan Mountains in general.  I just don't know how this is going to be done or organized. 

Hopefully, with input from my portrait subjects it will become clear how to proceed.  My initial vision is to lay all this out in a kick ass coffee table book and proceeds go to a cause that can benefit everyone.  We shall see but each portrait will have a small story on each person I shoot.  What they do here in the San Juan (i.e. what motivates them) and why the San Juan Mountains in general?  Why not Jackson Hole, Alaska, Tahoe?  You get the idea.  I bet the guy that made your pizza or served your beer last week didn't seem that epic, huh? You might be surprised that he climbed Mt. Everest last year as a disabled veteran.  Yeah, his portrait will be in this project.

I do have a list of people I want to capture but know there are more guys and gals out there just killing it everyday that I'm not aware of and will need the help of the communities and current subjects of this project to enlighten me on who these folks are.  Do you know any?  How about posting some names in the comments below or shoot me a note thru my contact page here? I need YOUR help so that no one is left out unless they choose. 

If you found this page because I reached out in email to capture your image, here is a nice sample of what your portrait could look like.  Meet Gary Ryan of the Guide Garage here in Ouray.



Yes, Gary does have a bio, but you will have to wait until the project is completed to read it.  In the meantime, you can follow the project here on my Facebook Page where each image will be shared after it's captured.  The bio on each person will go with the final production of all the images together. 

I want to hear from you, so reach out!

Until Next Time,



And I agree that Kelly Ryan (and her father Joe) would be important additions to the book.
Shane Carrick is an amazing young man who was raised in Ouray and is now an instructor in yoga, skateboarding and snowboarding. He has traveled the world and shares his passion for life everywhere, donating his time to special projects.
Marion kelly of lemon lake would be an inspiring soul. Kelly ranch
philippe wheelock(non-registered)
Kelly Ryan was born and raised here and embodies the understated ruggedness of the San juans like none other. Her and her dad should headline this proj..
Mary Jane Fuschetto(non-registered)
No San Juan portrait is complete without a look at our Native people residing currently in Ignacio. They were the original residents of the San Juan Mountains and their lives and culture today is every bit as dynamic and fascinating as our other area residents. I can recommend some VERY interesting folks! (And it would be nice to visit Bear Dance Pow wow this Memorial Day weekend!)
No comments posted.