Warren Brunner, a native of Wisconsin, is a highly respected photographer who has lived and worked in Berea, Ky. since 1954. He began his photographic career in 1944 with the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. He studied portrait photography with a Master Photographer then attended the Winona Institute of Photography before managing then owning the studio in Berea.
In addition to his portrait studio, he has documented the people, lifestyles, and mountains of Appalachia with an intense personal involvement. He is a creative blending of portrait photographer, photojournalist and documentarian with an eye and heart for helping people through presenting social issues in a positive light. This sensitivity developed as he did photography for thirty government and non-profit agencies. Documenting the "War on Poverty" taught him to show the needs of the people while still presenting the people with dignity.
The family tradition of creativity, love of beauty, and technical skills has passed on to the three daughters. Twelve years ago Brunner Studio passed on to the younger daughter Kara Beth, where she is assisted by her older sister, Scharme (and five loyal employees). Gwen is a Visual Information Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service. Wife, Pat and four grandchildren are a vital part of Brunner's life.
Warren's photographs have been in one man shows, and many national publications. His photographs have been featured in several books including Down to Earth Spirituality. and Appalachia, a Meditation, with Al Fritsch, S. J. and Appalachian Values with Loyal Jones. His photos of Appalachian people have appeared in 13 calendars published by Appalachia - Science in the Public Interest. His pictorials grace homes and offices across the nation.
Warren (and his dog, Brunno) reports in daily to the Studio to run errands, eat the lunch leftovers, lend his photo expertise and organize his thousands of photos of mountain scenery, people, traditions, crafts and folkways. His role is summed up in the plaque on his portrait at the Studio which reads "Founder and Janitor".
James Still sums up Warren's work as "Brunner has helped Appalachia see and remember itself". Another author defines him as "the Norman Rockwell of Appalachia". Warren simply sums up his pictures as a way to "give back to the mountains what the mountains have given to me."