Chad Brown

MYSTERY RANCH Brand Ambassador


Cureo, TX


Portland, OR


US Navy veteran. Accomplished documentary-style portrait photographer, creative director, adventurer, and conservationist. Founder of non-profit organization, Soul River which focuses his struggle with PTSD on nature and connecting inner-city youth and veterans to the outdoors.

Years ago, my darkest hour led me to a river where I was ready to end it all. But the river rejected my wish – it didn't let me give up and end my life. Instead, the river gave me the most amazing experience of rebirth. It gave me a new life. After that, I had found a community and found a purpose for fighting for my new life: now I fight for our youth, fight for veterans, and I fight for equal access and safety in the outdoors for everyone.

I have a strong vein in outdoor adventure travel and documenting threatened wild spaces, and connecting the public to endangered areas by capturing and showing the true spirit of the people of these lands. I also produce intense, raw images of stylized dramatic documentary portraits creatively using a bold approach, unique angles, and dramatic lighting. I am deeply interested in capturing moments of passion and the human spirit. Through my striking documentary portraits and photographic exhibitions, I showcase and advocate for social and environmental justice.

“Give nature to our youth so they are able to breathe and grow. Give nature to our veterans so they are able to breathe and mentor. Give nature to both veterans and youth at the same time so they become nature's force.” - Chad Brown

I studied communication design and photography at American Intercontinental University and then attended Pratt Institute in NYC, where I earned a Master of Science in Communication Design. I have managed interdisciplinary teams as a creative director, art director, and photographer for design firms, agencies, and a freelance artist. My work has crossed into underground hip hop, fashion, pop culture, and photographing the streets of NYC.

I have successfully presented to one of the nation's leading hip-hop culture business moguls, Russell Simmons and his business partner Rev Run, and VP of Run Athletics to develop creative campaigns and execute photoshoots for the New York Times magazine. My photography adventure assignments have led me to tour Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. I am also part of the less than 1% of the world population who had been to Antarctica. I received the Antarctica Service Medal for surviving more than 30 days on the Antarctic continent while serving in the Navy.

After leaving the hustle of New York City, I am now residing in Portland, Oregon. My career paths and life has expanded beyond the realm of the traditional creative world. Mother Nature has played a significant role in my healing from war traumas I experienced as a Navy service member. My failed suicide attempt eventually led me to launch a non-profit organization, unlike any other called Soul River IncSoul River specializes in outdoor education and cultural expeditions called deployments. It brings together at-risk youth and Veterans as mentors and takes them into threatened wild spaces – providing mission-driven experiences where advocacy and outdoor education meet. This work has led me to Capitol Hill advocating for our public lands and wild places where I bring tomorrow's youth leaders and allow them to interface with Congressional members.

I am a board member of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. I have been featured on BBC, CBS, Discovery Channel, and in national publications such as Outside Magazine and The Drake, and various Pacific Northwest publications. Additionally, I was the first recipient of the Breaking Barriers Award Presented by Orvis and the Bending Toward Justice Award from Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.


  • 2015 - Received Breaking Barriers Award Presented by Orvis, as well as the Bending Toward Justice Award from  Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley  
  • 2016 acknowledge as outdoor influencer by Outside Magazine   
  • 2019 Called to testify in front of congress in support of restoring protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Passage of H.R. 1146, the Arctic Cultural and Costal Plain Protection Act  
  • Won two films the year of 2018, 2019 Wild Scenic Film Festival


  • Soul River Inc (Founder, President) - We connect inner city youth and US military veterans to the outdoors through incredible outdoor educational transformation experiences. By engaging U.S veterans as mentors for inner city youth, we believe that rich, powerful opportunities of healing authentically happen in the midst of Mother Nature. We believe that by connecting youth and veterans to our public lands, wild rivers and fresh waters, and beyond through genuine community, we will ultimately establish and inspire a new generation of outdoor leader ambassadors that will advocate for Mother Nature and conservation.
  • Love is King (Founder, President) - Love is king believe’s that the freedom for all people to roam in nature without fear and intimidation is a basic and undeniable human right. The mission is to inspire, empower and activate a humanitarian movement that will mobilize citizens of all colors to carry out our humanitarian obligation that will raise our collective consciousness, educate and help facilitate conflict resolution through love, empathy, respect without discrimination. We exist because people of color deserve a voice, deserve an advocate, and deserve action to ensure the Freedom to Roam is unhindered and unlimited on public lands, free-flowing rivers, and backcountry wilderness.
  • Wilburforce Foundation - Wilburforce Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that supports land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts in Western North American.
  • Kendeda Fund Foundation- The Kendeda Fund is dedicated to exploring how human beings can build a more just and equitable world, one in which we use resources wisely and relate to one another more mindfully.

What Mystery Ranch Packs do you Run?

Other Sponsors:

  • Marmot 
  • Traiger Grills 
  • Columbia Sportswear 
  • KEEN Footwear