Athan Merrick

Cinematographer + Director of Photography Vancouver, BC


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 ski, surf, and 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. In the early part of my career I spent 4 years working as an IATSE 891 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.

In 2018 I received the CSC (Canadian Society of Cinematographers) Experimental/Unique Award for my work on the art installation Uninterrupted with Director Nettie Wild.

I am a co-founder of Dendrite Studios, a creative production company focused on the visual realm of the outdoors. Dendrite’s most recent ski film, Numinous, has been awarded the industry’s highest honour, Movie of the Year at the Powder Awards, as well as Best Cinematography at If3 Festival, Best Documentary Cinematography at the Leo Awards (BC Film Awards), and numerous other awards. Dendrite’s short film Parallels was a Vimeo Staff Pick, featured in the USA Today Travel Section and Atlantic magazine 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.

Clients and Broadcast Partners include: MazdaPatagoniaSAPNFLSkittlesDurexAOLLenovoPepperidge FarmAdes Sports DrinkChevyDiscover CardCBCDiscoveryNational GeographicSmithsonian ChannelLove NatureHistoryESPNBBCTeton Gravity ResearchFit FoodsHedrich BlessingMichele Oka DonerZGF ArchitectsRennie Marketing SystemsMagnum ProjectsThe Ski ChannelPeak PerformanceWhistler BlackcombAll Tracks AcademyParallax FilmsSwany GlovesSugar Skull FilmsSoMedia NetworksPin Point ProductionsNorseman ProductionsBLM FilmsBreakthrough Santa FeROI RecreationEpic PlanksTLH HeliskiingSkiing MagazineTeam 13Red Cedar FilmsOff IslandCanada WildRunway Films, Bubblegum Films.


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