Photograph by Bryan Smith
Birthplace: Livonia, Michigan
Current City: Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to race Indy cars.
How did you get started in your field of work?
I came at it from a slightly unconventional perspective. I did not go to film school, but rather developed my skills as an adventurer and athlete and then built my camera skills. I worked under some really talented people who taught me a lot, but bottom line is that I set my passion to being an accomplished filmmaker and just went for it.
What inspires you to dedicate your life to adventure filmmaking?
I love being able to explore these people and places so intimately. When you are on vacation you don't have the opportunity to engage so deeply like you do when it is your work to explore and document. My work takes me inside the lives of some of the world's most fascinating people and is always an adventure.
What's a normal day like for you?
There is no such thing as a normal day.
What has been your favorite experience in the field? The most challenging?
The Kamchatka Project expedition in 2010 ranks pretty high for me. I have never been to a place so wild and remote. It put so much in perspective for me. It was very difficult to move around, communicate with the Russians, and find success. It was the real, raw Mother Nature that I'm sure exists in other places, but Kamchatka was out there.
What are your other passions?
I love to kayak and ski.
What do you do in your free time?
I have a two-year-old son and a beautiful wife that I'm trying my best to set good examples for. Spare time is rare in the film business, but more and more I'm trying to give that time to my family.
Latest Explorer News
- Emerging Explorer Manu Prakash Receives MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’
- Letter-writers make history: President Obama declares first Atlantic Ocean National Monument
- Bear Family Gives Explorers an Unexpected Wake Up Call
- Uniting Against Organized Wildlife Crime
- National Geographic Footage Lost at Sea for 3 Years Has Returned Home
- First U.S. Atlantic Ocean Marine National Monument Is Safe Haven for Sharks, Whales, Corals, and Other Marine Life
- U.S. Ocean Leadership: Getting from 1% to 30% Marine Protection
- The Fellowship of the Dig: Life as an Archaeologist in the Field
- Tiny ants may pose a big threat for diversity in Laikipia
- Hawaiian Voyaging Canoe and Viking Longship Meet for First Time
In an NG Live! event at National Geographic's D.C. headquarters, kayaker and videographer Bryan Smith shares the endurance trials and the adrenaline rush of out-there adventure filmmaking.
Fringe Elements experts give tips and advice.
In Their Words
My work takes me inside the lives of some of the world's most fascinating people and is always an adventure.
Creating stunning, cutting-edge adventure films hasn't gotten any easier. There's still plenty of sweat and swearing.
Our Explorers in Action
Meet female explorers who have pushed the limits in adventure, science, and more.