I grew up in a little village of three hundred called Galisteo; about half an hour from the cultural complexity and vast high desert vistas of Santa Fe, New Mexico. My father is an architectural photographer and my mother a former modern dancer and life-long abstract painter, both of whom taught me to have a detailed, visual, discerning eye, with a hard dedication to craftsmanship, and a fundamental appreciation of aesthetics and movement. I now live in the mountains, oceans, and temperate rainforests surrounding Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

I have a BFA from the University of British Columbia Film Production program, specializing in cinematography, while minoring in philosophy. I am a member of IATSE 891 where I spent 4 years working as a lighting technician and best boy on feature films and television shows to work with and observe how master cinematographers shoot and light low budget to 200 million dollar Hollywood studio pictures. I am continually honing and evolving my craft.

I am a co-founder of Dendrite Studios, a creative production company focused on the visual realm of the outdoors. Dendrite’s debut ski film, Out of the Shadows, premiered at many film festivals around the globe, and has been awarded the Best Big Mountain Film of 2010 at IF3, and a Sierra Nevada Award for Action Sports at The Mountain Film Festival in 2010. Dendrite’s short film Parallels was a Vimeo Staff Pick, featured in the USA Today Travel Section and Atlantic magazine while premiering at film festivals around the globe and winning Best Short Film Cinematography at FESCINAT.

A passionate skier, I have racked up 4 top 5 finishes at international big mountain skiing competitions and have been published as an athlete in ski magazines around the world. This adventurous spirit allows me to put the camera and myself in places not many cinematographers are willing to go, creating unique and powerful imagery. The immersion I experienced while extreme skiing, where my life was in danger, is the same as cinematography. They are both art, where the danger or complexity increases to a point where the level of engagement is intoxicating, where thousands of ideas, feelings, and conflicts happen in split seconds leaving behind another realm of quietness, where everything fades away and the task at hand is all important and all consuming. These peak experiences have informed my entire life. I want my cinematography to bring back souvenirs from these frontiers, to carry magic back from that mysterious place, to be a token of the experience.

Athan Merrick