Scott Lorenzen

The narrow dirt track traversing the steep Sierra Nevada mountainside was engulfed in flames. I took a last, deep breath and ran headlong down the road into the 100-yard-long tunnel of fire. It was just 6 weeks after my last day of high school and my job was fighting wildfires – something I was proud to do in defence of the forests. I later learned the stinging paradox that the very act of fire suppression itself was killing the mountain ecosystems I loved. When I gave up on an exciting, dangerous, and otherwise fulfilling career I needed another means of connecting with vast topographies, actual and intellectual.

In my years since fighting fires I have managed to keep things interesting – I completed a 222 mile solo hike of the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevadas; got stranded in Portland, Oregon where I lived in an arboretum for 4 days; organized a rescue of my friends while we were being robbed by three gunmen; snuck back into the US from France at O’Hare airport (post 9/11); was nearly attacked by, and then guided by a wolf-dog on a mystical romp in the northern Yukon; evaded narco traffickers during a 45 minute car chase while on a photoshoot in El Paso, TX; and cheated death a few times.

All my life I wanted to be a photographer and work outdoors. I’ve driven 285,000 miles shooting for clients throughout the US and covered over 2500 square miles on helicopter assignments. I have managed half-million-dollar budgets and shot over 1600 warehouses and counting. And proudly, I painstakingly hunted down and photographed the elusive 020 Pavilion for a personal project, which won an AIA LA Architectural Photography Award.

Currently based in San Diego with my wife Caroline and my dog Timber, I hold onto the stream-wading, tadpole-collecting curiosity of my boyhood, and am driven by a desire to connect with and convey big feelings and big ideas.

Projects by Scott on Photography Chronicle


An Unseen Place

Scott Lorenzen’s project to document the mysterious McNeal 020 Pavillion, hidden somewhere in Southern Arizona.