Bryan Schutmaat


I wonder what my father saw in his most secret sight of the right life. It’s my guess he wanted to live out his life surrounded by friends and children and fertile fields of his own designing. I think he wanted to die believing he had been in on the creation of a good sweet place.

Those old pilgrims believed stories in which the West was a promise, a faraway place where decent people could escape the wreckage of the old world and start over. Come to me, the dream whispers, and you can have one more chance.

(William Kettridge, “Heaven on Earth”)

​This project combines portraits, landscapes, and still lifes in a series of photos ​that explores the lives of working people ​residing in small mountain towns and mining communities in the American ​West. ​Equipped with a large format view ​camera, and inspired by the poetry of Richard Hugo, I’ve aimed ​to hint at narratives ​and relay the experiences of strangers ​met in settings that spur my own emotions. Ultimately, this body of work ​is a ​meditation on small town life, the landscape, ​and more importantly, the inner landscapes of common men.


BRYAN SCHUTMAAT is an art photographer whose work has been widely exhibited and published in the United States and overseas. He holds a BA in history from the University of Houston and an MFA in photography from Hartford Art School. Bryan’s photos can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston as well as in many private collections. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.