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Chris Rainier

Acclaimed documentary photographer Chris Rainier specializes in highlighting endangered cultures and traditional languages around the globe. In 2002, he received the Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club for his efforts in cultural preservation and was elected in 2014 as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, where he specializes in cultural preservation. During his continued tenure with the National Geographic Society as a National Geographic Fellow and Explorer, he has been the co-founder and co-director of the Enduring Voices Project and director of the All-Roads Photography Program, both designed to support indigenous groups desiring to document their traditional cultures and create sustainable solutions to preserve the planet in the 21st century. Rainier also served as a cultural editor and photographer for National Geographic Traveler magazine for over 18 years. Today he directs The Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation, whose mission is to create legally protected cultural zones around the globe that protect both traditional knowledge as well as the biodiversity the communities are guardians of. In the early 1980s, Chris served as the last assistant for famed photographer Ansel Adams. The two worked together to amplify the use of art photography as a social tool, ultimately helping to preserve threatened wilderness areas and national parks in the United States. Rainier has traveled extensively across the globe, from South America to the South Pacific, Antarctica and the Russian Arctic, and beyond. He was one of the first journalists to journey to the Russian North Pole aboard a Russian icebreaker when the Soviet Union ended. Since then, Chris has travelled extensively on National Geographic Expeditions on the Lindblad ships as well on the Jet Expeditions. Chris has a deep passion for teaching photography, particularly for the National Geographic Expeditions for the past 20 years.