About the Photographer
American, b. 1981
Hunting is a common pastime in the United States, but many non-hunters have only a basic knowledge of what the sport entails or think of it in stereotypical terms. Photographer Brian Lesteberg's documentary series Raised to Hunt is a generous and nuanced treatment of the topic. As the title implies, he approaches hunting as a shared culture and a tradition, passed down within families and reinforced in the social environments of places where it is a regular part of life. Many of Lesteberg's photographs were taken while hunting with family members or friends, and collectively they provide a compelling record of the process. His subjects are often pictured in open fields — seemingly at the cusp of autumn and winter — as they lie in wait in camoflauge clothing, field dress a goose after a successful shot, or engage in other related activities. Some of Lesteberg's photographs reflect a more indirect, poetic sensibility; understated images like Hoof Track with Blood (2003), for example, suggest the contours of the experience, and the stakes, through minimal visual means.
Although Lesteberg offers rare access to the rituals of hunting and the social climate that surrounds it, Raised to Hunt is not simply an examination of an American subculture. His photographs touch on a broader theme: humankind's relationship with the natural world. Lesteberg's depictions of the hunter's landscape convey the tension between an idealized view of an unmarred wilderness where the animals run freely and the fact of human intervention. This particular dynamic is evoked quietly but powerfully in the photograph Fallen Doe (2003): the slumped form of a deer lies in an empty winter field, its head resting in a snowy track where no grasses grow — the barest suggestion of a road, juxtaposed with the animal's fallen body.
Brian Lesterberg received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.