Austin, Texas-based photographer Heath Braun is getting ready to release the third installment of his book series "The Great White Bison," and we have all of the info you need to get your hands on it first. Volume Three features photos from 2016-2019, and is available in the classic 6" by 9" softcover and for a limited time in a deluxe 8" x 10" hardcover edition. Volume Three has been completely redesigned with 94 pages of brand new photography. Pre-orders will run on his website until Friday, July 19th. I had the opportunity to speak with Heath, and here is the result of our conversation. Enjoy!
How did The Great White Bison series come about? I moved to Texas after finishing my photography degree and at the time, I was riding and shooting a ton of photos of events, bikes, and builders and their shops, and I wanted to share them with people in a way that they could enjoy them for more than just through the endless Instagram scroll. In 2014, I designed and published Volume One as a collection of photographs of people who live to build and ride motorcycles, as well as documenting my two-wheeled adventures and the people that I met along the way. Initially, I thought that it would be a cool thing for my friends and me to enjoy, but interest in the first one was a lot greater than I had anticipated and I ended up sending copies all over the world.
What has been your goal with The Great White Bison series? My goal has always been to share my photography with other people in a tangible way. I love photography, and I've always collected photography books. I think you miss part of the story when you scroll through a website or look at photos on a tiny screen. It has evolved into a vehicle to push myself and my photography, as well as how I build my bikes and even how I work during my day job as a graphic designer and video editor. I've never really been interested in making The Great White Bison into my job but rather as a way to express and challenge myself creatively.
How many photos do you think you have taken since you started The Great White Bison? I've taken more photos than I could even imagine counting, I easily take thousands in an event weekend, but each book is around 100 pages (Volume Three is 94 pages), with about 150 photos in each. I've tried not to focus on the number of photos taken or even included in the books, and rather focus on how each image impacts the narrative, how the feeling of one photo ties to the previous ones and leads you into the next, and tells a story that is larger than a single image.
How do you decide which photos to include and which to cut? Sometimes it's harder than others, there are plenty of images that I would love to include, but sometimes they don't match the flow and layout of the book, or they might be a great image that doesn't capture the moment in a way that I'm happy with. Sometimes you have to be there to know what the experience is like, so the image may feel incomplete even if it looks good.
Volume One & Two featured images from events and locations all over the country, what can we expect in Volume Three? It was pretty unintentional, but this book focuses on West Texas and New Mexico, there are a lot of photos from Run to Raton (2017 & 2018), the Mystery Lights Run in Big Bend & Terlingua, as well as shots from around Austin and Central Texas events. The book is much more than the events, though, there are plenty of chances of lazy days riding with friends.
So where can people purchase it? Volumes One-Three are available as softcover 6” x 9” books on my website www.thegreatwhitebison.com. I also made a limited-edition, hardcover 8” x 10” version of Volume Three that will only be available during pre-order. The hardcover version is really special to me, and I think it really encapsulates my vision for the series up until now. Pre-orders for both versions will run through will ship out in August.
What else are you up to anything you'd like to share with our readers? I'm excited to be a part of Fuel Cleveland again this year, exhibiting my photos alongside some of the most talented photographers and builders in the industry. I'll have a booth set up and a handful of hardcover books with me so if you see me, make sure to stop and say hi. Keep an eye on my Instagram account as well for details about the official release party in early August here in Austin!
Is there anyone you’d like to thank? I want to give my biggest thanks to my wife, Mary Catherine, for always being supportive no matter how weird and crazy the dream is. And a huge thanks to everyone that has let me follow them around with a camera over the past few years, none of this would be possible without the talented builders that I am lucky enough to call friends.
I want to thank Heath for his time and assistance with this feature. Follow his travels here.