Iwamoto's Photos

Painting with light.

Brandon Iwamoto is a freelance photographer based in Aurora, Colorado, USA

The Totah Festival and Pow Wow. You really just can’t go wrong.

PGA golfer Notah Begay, the only full-blooded Native American in the PGA Tour. Day one of the San Juan Open Golf Tourney.

PGA golfer Notah Begay, the only full-blooded Native American in the PGA Tour. Day one of the San Juan Open Golf Tourney.

U.S. 666

Or at least it used to be. One of the deadliest highways in the country got a name change a while ago, to U.S. 491, after some were concerned that the highway’s ominous name was the cause of the rash of fatal crashes. Of course, we all know, it’s just an excuse to blame someone/something else.

The road is being widened from two lanes to four, in an effort to reduce the number of head-on collisions that occur, thanks to poor passing skills and alcohol.

On the way back from the highway buried deep (ok, only about an hour into) the Navajo Reservation, we stopped to get some shots of a rock slide. Sounds exciting right? Except that the rock slide occurred last night and there was no dynamite involved in the clearing of the massive rocks. For shame.

Congratulations to Jon Austria, a fellow former-Colorado Springs Gazette intern, who will be my new photo coworker after officially accepting the job yesterday.


Raindrops and Fireworks

I was NOT prepared for every student to stand up and run to the outfield after tossing their caps. My camera viewfinder covered in raindrops, my hair in my face, my aperture at 1.4, I have no clue how I managed to pull this shot off. Not that I’m complaining.

Lots of open mouths in my photos today for some reason, and not all of them primal screaming… sometimes it’s just to grab a quick bite to eat on the way to the stadium grounds.

Also earlier in the day got to shoot a big motorcycle rally, the “Navajo - Hopi Honor Run” featuring nearly 100 bikers touring the entire Navajo Nation.

Anyways, that’s all for tonight, one more evening of graduations tomorrow then I can finally (hopefully) get some rest!

Hopefully Denver Post photos will be up tomorrow. I got some feedback today from the DoP, John Sunderland:

"Very nice job with the Museum photos.  Good selection - nice composition et al.  If I have any criticism at all it is the overuse of the wideangle on some of the detail shots …. but not a biggie.  The section editor is very pleased with your work and we will most likely be calling you again as assignments demand."

Good feedback overall, I think, just gotta remember to switch it up a little here and there. You’ll see what he means tomorrow (hopefully).

That’s all for tonight, thanks for reading!


Between the Tall, Pointy Rock and the Long Flat One

That’s the reply my coworker Alysa sent to our editor when he asked us where we were. And, frankly, there was no more accurate a description. We had spent the entire morning waaaay out in the middle of the Navajo reservation, getting some work done for an upcoming special section.

The shots were nothing special, so I won’t bore you with the shots. But it was still fun getting out on the res’ again, I rather enjoy the scenery. Though I’m still kicking myself for missing this sweet shot of wild horses with a tall, flat, beautifully cut cliff/bluff directly behind them. Was running late getting to the trading post and couldn’t stop. Or so I keep telling myself.

Then a long ass gap in between assignments, before shooting a talent show (top) and Piedra Vista baseball. They were down 4-0 going into the bottom of the third and rallied for 14 runs (including a grand slam by the fella above).

Isn’t it fun when you have photographic evidence the umpire made the wrong call? It wouldn’t be proper to offer (or even show if he asked) the photo, but you know the whole time with a smile on your face. This kid was ruled safe at the bag, clearly here he is out.

That’s all for tonight. Long 14-hour day, and I’ve got another early one tomorrow. G’night and thanks for reading.


Kenji Kawano

I didn’t get around to posting about Kenji earlier in the week, so I thought I would today. On Monday I met and had lunch with a photographer by the name of Kenji Kawano (河野謙児). He’s a Japanese man from Fukuoka who has been living on the Navajo Reservation since the 70’s and is well known for this portraits of the famed “Code Talkers” of WWII.

Kenji shoots film, mostly Tri-X in a variety of formats. His access to the Navajo is unparalleled and his portraits often touching. I’d like to get a chance to shoot with him sometime out on the reservation, it’s a place I think has a lot of untapped story potential.

Check him out, his stuff is generally pretty cool.


Another Day in…

I was really hoping today would be a nice, short day for me after a killer 12.5 hour one yesterday. No such luck. On the bright side, I got to shoot a little tennis and take my first trip out to the Navajo Reservation. Tomorrow, I’ll get the chance again.

The first shoot on the reservation for me was at a very tiny, locally owned fast food shack in Shiprock, one of the only non-chain restaurants in the entire town. The people there were very friendly and happy to talk, it was nice to see. It will also help both my and my reporter’s reputation with the residents on the reservation.

Why is this important? Because trust and reputation among the Navajo is extremely important if we’re to pursue bigger stories. Every step is one in the direction I need to be going to gain the access I need for the stories I want to tell. We shall see how well it goes.